At first, the premise of Gus Van Sant’s upcoming feature The Promise Land seemed like it would tell the humbling story of a man who experiences great change when he returns to his hometown. Co-star and co-writer John Krasinski plays a rival executive in a story described as “Capraesque,” with Rosemarie DeWitt playing the female lead.

But new details are emerging on the film, revealing that the story isn’t as simple as it may seem. According to a story over at Politico (via Vulture), the plot of the movie centers on the dangers of fracking (not a Battlestar Galactica reference), a controversial method of blasting rocks with sand, water, and chemicals to extract natural gas.

Now, the movie has been completely turned on its head as it won’t be just a simple story about two men at conflict, but something much greater. Damon himself has been known to be quite vocal about his political views, and has penned the rewrites on the draft originally written by Dave Eggers and is co-writing the script with Krasinski.

If Away We Go and Where the Wild Things are an indication of how wonderful Egger’s writing ability is, then I can’t wait to see what The Promise Land has in store for us. Throw in Krasinski, Damon, and Sant’s writing styles, and The Promise Land is sure to be one powerful political drama.

The reality of fracking some recent attention thanks the 2011 Academy Award nomination and Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival for GasLand, a documentary film written and direct by Josh Fox, featuring archived footage of political leaders. Although The Promised Land is not a documentary, it and the key players involved will help drive the anti-fracking message.

The Promised Land was originally going to mark the directorial debut of Damon, before he handed that job to Sant, whom he previously worked with on Good Will Hunting. No release date has been set for The Promised Land.

Sources: Politico & Vulture