“I was automatically attracted to it because in order to tell these sorts of stories, you have to tell them right,” Jason Mitchell told Deadline’s Joe Utichi recently at the inaugural The Contenders London, regarding writer-director Dee Rees’ Netflix period drama Mudbound. “They always have something missing — they always have a punch that’s held, they always have something that’s drawn back — and I was telling Dee, ‘If all the right people get in the right places with this film, it’s going to be a hit. There’s no missing the mark.’ ”

Based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, Mudbound follows two sons —one white, one black — returning home from war to life on the farm, facing the complications of life in post-World War II Mississippi, including ubiquitous racism.

Unaware of Jordan’s novel when it was released, Rees found the project via Virgil Williams’ script, brought to her by producer Cassian Elwes. For Rees, the attraction was immediate. “There was a lot of there there, and that prompted me to go back and read Hillary’s book, and find out what else is in there,” she said.

“The internal monologue felt more interesting, in ways, than just the dialogue, so the chance to dig in and have these multiple points of view was what drew me to the material,” the director continued. “I really wanted to go in and make it a story about two families and create this kind of dark symbiosis, and how they’re mirrors of each other in a certain way.”

Check out the conversation above.