“‘Mudbound’ is all of us,” divulges screenwriter Virgil Williams during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above). “I think that every one of us has someone or several people that they can connect their own personal history to, their own belief systems to, within that group of six characters that exists” in the film. Williams and director Dee Rees adapted this Hillary Jordan novel about two World War II veterans – one white (Garrett Hedlund) and one black (Jason Mitchell) – who return home to work with their respective families on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and PTSD. The Netflix original also features Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Jonathan Banks, and Rob Morgan.
The screenwriter finds the film to be especially prescient in this day and age. “It’s a movie about a particular era in our country, but you look at the climate and the times as they are now, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Yet he finds hope within the film as well. “What people are getting a look at is who we were, and in that look we see who we are, and in that look we maybe see who we can be.”
Williams comes from the world of episodic television, where he has worked on such shows as “24,” “E.R.,” and “Criminal Minds.” This is his first produced feature film script. Can he and Rees break into the Oscar race for Best Adapted Screenplay? Check out our full interview above for more about his work on “Mudbound.”
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