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Promised Land is a 2012 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, and John Krasinski. The screenplay is written by Damon and Krasinski based on a story by Dave Eggers.

Promised Land follows two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents.


Corporate salesperson Steve Butler and his sales partner Sue Thomason visit a rural town to buy drilling rights from local residents who seek relief after the recent economic decline. They encounter resistance from a schoolteacher, who is supported by a grassroots campaign organized by another man who seeks to rival Butler.


  • Matt Damon as Steve Butler, a corporate salesperson
  • John Krasinski as Dustin Noble, a grassroots campaign organizer
  • Frances McDormand as Sue Thomason, Steve's sales partner
  • Hal Holbrook as Frank Yates, a schoolteacher
  • Rosemarie DeWitt as Alice
  • Lucas Black as Paul Geary
  • Titus Welliver


Krasinski came up with the film's premise and developed the idea with Eggers. They pitched the idea to Damon, suggesting that both Damon and Krasinski would write and star in the film. The project was set up at Warner Bros. with Damon attached as director in October 2011, in what would have been his directorial debut. Filming was scheduled to begin in early 2012.

In January 2012, Damon stepped down as director due to scheduling conflicts but remained involved with the project. Damon contacted Gus Van Sant, who directed him in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, and Van Sant joined the project as director. The project was in turnaround at Warner Bros., and by the following February, Focus Features and Participant Media acquired rights to produce the film. The title was announced to be Promised Land. With a production budget of $15 million, filming began in Pennsylvania in late April 2012.