There are few emerging American filmmakers right now as exciting as Jeff Nichols. The director is coming of a pretty fantastic run of three indie films -- the must-see-if-you-haven't "Shotgun Stories," the excellent "Take Shelter" and the deeply felt "Mud." And now major studios are paying attention. You might remember that Nichols' name was tossed around to direct "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes," but now he's got a projecgt lined up at Warner Bros. and he's staring to cast up.
With Michael Shannon already on board, Joel Edgerton is the latest to join the mystery sci-fi movie, about which details are under wraps, though we have a suspicion that it's the movie Nichols was talking to us about entitled "Midnight Special." Or maybe it's something else. But either way, Nichols is using that studio money and Edgerton is simply a great talent, so we can't to see who is recruited to play along.
Meanwhile, though Ryan Reynolds' blockbuster career didn't quiet happen (and we're sure the loony "R.I.P.D." won't help matters), he's taking a moment to work with established auteurs instead. He recently wrapped on Atom Egoyan's thriller "Queen Of The Night" (first images here) and is currently lensing "The Voices" for "Perselopis" writer/director Marjane Satrapi, and now he's going to go to the filmmakers who helped break another Canadian actor: Ryan Gosling. "Half Nelson" and "Sugar" directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden have tapped Reynolds for their upcoming "Mississippi Grind."
It would appear he's replacing the originally attached Jake Gyllenhaal, in the story that centers on a down-on-his-luck gambler facing crushing debt, who teams up with a gambling addict (Reynolds), in an attempt to change his luck. The two then set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what has been lost. And certainly in Fleck and Boden's hands, the end result will be something even more evocative than that logline. It's an interest cast with more to come, but there's plenty of time, as the movie doesn't even start filming until next year. [Variety/Deadline]