R&B singer Mary J. Blige will be joining the cast of Dee Rees’ (Bessie, Pariah) World War II independent drama Mudbound, based on the 2009 novel by Hillary Jordan.  She will star alongside Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Garrett Hedland (Unbroken), and Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty).

Mudbound is set in 1946 rural Mississippi just after WWII.  Henry and Laura McAllan start a new life on a cotton farm, where Laura feels far from at home, struggling to raise two young children in an isolated shack under the eye of her racist father-in-law. When it rains, the waters rise up and swallow the bridge to town, stranding the family in a sea of mud.

As the war comes to an end, two young men return from Europe to help work the farm. Jamie McAllan is everything his older brother Henry is not and is sensitive to Laura’s plight, but also haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, meanwhile, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the farm, comes home from war a hero, only to face far more dangerous battles against the ingrained bigotry of his own countrymen. These two unlikely friends become players in a tragedy.

Blige made her acting debut on the sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show, and has been a guest star on shows such as Entourage, America’s Next Top Model, and 30 Rock.  She had a supporting role in Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself and portrayed Dr. Betty Shabazz alongside Angela Basset in the Lifetime original film Betty and Coretta.  More recently Blige starred in the NBC special, The Wiz Live as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Mudbound will be executive produced by Poppy Hanks and produced by Charles King, Kim Roth, Cassian Elwes, Sally Jo Effenson, Carl Effenson, Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros.  MACRO will co-finance this project with Zeal, and Good Universe will sell foreign rights. Filming will begin this week in New Orleans.

Charles King‘s MACRO is a multi-platform media company that focuses on creating premium content for African American, Latino and multicultural audiences.  King left William Morris Endeavor (WME) over a year ago to produce film and television projects targeting African American, Latino and multicultural audiences.  MACRO is gearing up for production for the film adaptation of the August Wilson play Fences, and is currently in development on a feature film based on the life of Harriet Tubman titled Harriet.  They are also in development with their first digital project Gente-Fied and are developing a television series with Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale) and Chinaka Hodge.