James directs and stars in In Dubious Battle, which tells the story of the farm workers' labour movement in California during the 1930s. Based on John Steinbeck’s 1936 book of the same name, James jumped at the chance to take on the project as he believes the novel’s central themes are still relevant today.

“I’m not running for president and I don’t know how to fix it but certainly there is a working class and middle class in America that’s left behind and it’s not a good thing (for our country). Hopefully this film can shine a light on this issue,” James said during a press conference on Monday (05Sept16).

“I’ve not been politically active in my life but as a public figure there are certain things that I can raise awareness on and send a message to younger people - raise attention on voting for instance.”

James was joined by the film’s producers at the 42nd Deauville American Film Festival in France, where the movie received a glowing reception. In Dubious Battle boasts an all star cast, with Bryan Cranston, Selena Gomez, Zach Braff and Robert Duvall all featuring.

Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar-nominee James spoke in depth about why the project appealed to him.

“I read the news every day and I feel like there are so many (unjust) things,” he sighed. “The issue that my movie addresses is rights for the working class and it’s still a very important story to tell,”

“A lot of jobs in America are being sent overseas and the workplace is changing. I think it’s something that should be addressed, I don’t want a situation where a small minority of the country is living in these walled off palaces and the rest of the country is in poverty.”