Krasinski: Film a community story

3 January 2013

John Krasinski has revealed he and Matt Damon tried to avoid sending too much of a political message with their new movie Promised Land.

The film - which the Hollywood stars co-wrote and star in - focuses on a struggling Pennsylvania community trying to decide whether to sell drilling rights for natural gas.

It digs into the fierce debate in the US over fracking, the technique that's generated a boom in America's natural gas production while also stoking controversy over its possible impact on the environment and human health.

But US Office star John said: "We really wanted to tell a story about community, about these small towns that are going through very real situations right now, especially with the economic situation as it is."

The film follows a gas company salesman (Matt) who shows up in an economically struggling Pennsylvania town that sits on top of a vast reserve of gas. His task is to get residents to sign on the dotted line, promising them they'll become instant millionaires once the gas starts flowing from the shale underneath their land.

Standing in his way is an environmental activist (John), who is determined to convince townsfolk they don't want what the driller is selling.

Although Matt's character defends fracking as a technology with a proven track record of safety, the film leaves little doubt as to where its sympathies lie.

"Nobody's going to be disingenuous here. If you were expecting a pro-fracking movie from Matt Damon, you were probably living in an alternate universe," Focus Features CEO James Schamus said.

He said the movie - which also stars Frances McDormand and Rosemarie DeWitt - is a Frank Capra-style yarn about "working-class identity, about aspiration, about money and what it does to you".

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