Jeff Nichols has had a pretty phenomenal last couple of years. After beginning his career in 2007 with the little known Shotgun Stories, Nichols returned four years later with the critic darling, Take Shelter. That film earned praise for its acting, writing and direction and catapulted Nichols into the stratosphere of indie filmmaking. He followed up that film with the Matthew McConaughey vehicle, Mud, which is one of the year’s best reviewed films and is sure to make an impression come award season.
The upcoming American director looks to continue his string of indie hits with Midnight Special, his first science fiction film which has been described as an ode to 1980s sci-fi classics such as Starman.
Midnight Special already had Joel Edgerton and Nichols regular Michael Shannon (who has starred in all three of Nichols’ films) and has recently added another big name to its cast, Kirsten Dunst.
Shannon stars as a dad who realizes his 8-year old boy “has some kind of special powers” and are forced to go on the run. Edgerton’s and Dunst’s roles have yet to be confirmed and the 8-year old boy has yet to be cast.
This casting marks another return to indie films for Dunst who, in recent years, has been earning her fair share of critical acclaim for roles films like Melancholia, On the Road and Upside Down. You can catch her in Hossein Amini‘s The Two Faces of January alongside Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac on December 18th, 2013.
Nichols has proven himself a very adept storyteller. No matter the genre, whether it be thriller/horror or American fable, he has shown a deep understanding of character and while his films are at times muted, they have a poignancy to them that is rare in most mainstream films. I can’t wait to see his take on the sci-fi genre, which has enjoyed a bit of a mini Renaissance of late with films like Oblivion, Elysium, Prometheus and Pacific Rim.
No release date has been set for Midnight Special, but I’d wager a 2014 release is likely.