Take Shelter’s Jeff Nichols Has Two Projects On The Boil, One Of Them Like “A 1980s John Carpenter Movie”

After just Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter I’m keen to see anything, indeed everything, that Jeff Nichols will make. He premiered Mud at Sundance last week, and word generally very good – I’ll put the trailer at the foot of this post so you can get a taste.

Last year, you may remember, that Nichols was on Fox’s shortlist of directors for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and while he didn’t end up in that job, the prospect caught my imagination. Apes isn’t likely to fall into one of the genres that Nichols has already worked with, and that was part of the appeal to me, to see what route he’d weave when heading in this new direction.

But he’s got new directions of his own to chart, even without Apes. Speaking to Movie Mezzanine (found via The Film Stage), Nichols gave some basic info on the two new scripts he’s writing now:

Right now I’m working on this one called Midnight Special. I won’t talk too much about it now, other than to say I kind of want to make a 1980s John Carpenter movie. If I had to choose one of those it would be Starman. 

It’s interesting because I’m doing the same thing I did in the summer of 2008 where I’m writing two scripts at once. And so Midnight Special is going to be a genre film put through whatever bizarre filter is me. And then I’m writing this other movie based on a documentary that will hopefully be austere, quiet, sad, and beautiful.

While it’s possible that the film “based on a documentary” is something new, it might also be the known Nichols project The Boy Who Played With Fusion.

That one’s to be a split biopic recounting the stories of 14 year old Arkansas boy Taylor Wilson achieving nuclear fusion in a home lab, and David Hahn, another teenager who tried to build a nuclear builder reactor in his family shed. There was a doc on Wilson called The Outer Bounds of Human Intelligence, and one on Hahn called The Nuclear Boyscout.

Here’s the trailer for Mud.

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