There is perhaps no more exciting actor/director pairing going right now than Michael Shannon and Jeff Nichols. The duo first got together on the outstanding "Shotgun Stories," a slow burn firecracker tale of two half brothers who enter a blood feud. That was followed by "Take Shelter" which begins rolling out this weekend, one of the year's best films that takes a deeply personal tale woven into a gripping apocalyptic framework. And now, they're going to make it three for three as Deadline reports that Shannon has found time in his increasingly busy schedule to take a role in the film.
We caught up with both Nichols and Shannon at TIFF a couple of weeks ago and at the time, the reteaming wasn't guaranteed. “We’re trying to get him in it. He’s not the lead, but he’s an important character that shows up. But he’s shooting ‘Man of Steel’ now so we’re struggling to get a few days of work out of him," Nichols told us, but it looks like everything has worked out.
Filming kicked off today, and we'll just reprint what Nichols told us about the movie, which looks like yet another piece of Americana storytelling from the filmmaker. "I say it’s kind of like if Sam Peckinpah directed a short story by Mark Twain,” the filmmaker said of his upcoming film. “It’s a contemporary [story], about two fourteen year old boys who find this man hiding out on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River. They help him out. He says he killed a man in Texas and he’s on the run, but he’s kind of likable so they start to help him get things. [Matthew] McConaughey is playing the title character Mud, [Reese] Witherspoon is playing Juniper, his girlfriend. Tye Sheridan [the young lead] from ‘Tree of Life,’ and another is a boy named Jacob that we just found in Arkansas [also star]. Ray McKinnon’s got a part in my new film, too. It’s going to be a tricky film to make because all of the stunts and effects are practical. Shotgun shootouts, dirt bike scenes, snakes and water and all this craziness.”
Sounds pretty great, and the rest of his cast pads things out nicely. The also reliable Sam Shepard joins along with Sarah Paulson ("Martha Marcy May Marlene"), Joe Don Baker and Paul Sparks. So, another film from Nichols in 2012? Let's hope so. He's one of the best American filmmakers going right now and this looks to be his most starry effort yet, but in a story that still looks like it's all Nichols.