UPDATE: Took awhile, but I’ve gotten clarity on this Jeff Nichols Warner Bros project, and it was worth the wait. Michael Shannon, the Boardwalk Empire star who turned in a powerhouse performance in Nichols’ Take Shelter and appeared more recently in Mud, will star in Midnight Special, which Nichols wrote and will direct at Warners. Described to me as a contemporary science fiction chase film, the pic will be produced by Sarah Green and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, with Glen Basner and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos the exec producers. Shannon just played a hitman in The Iceman, and he plays General Zod in the Superman reboot Man Of Steel, so he is absolutely on the Warner Bros radar. READ MORE »
Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ third feature is screening at Sundance starting tomorrow. The tale which debuted last May at Cannes involves a pair of teenage boys who discover a boat wedged in a tree on an island in the Mississippi River. A drifter played by Matthew McConaughey intrudes and complications …
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has come up with a short list to replace Rupert Wyatt as the director of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. I’m hearing that Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves is atop the list, along with The Disappearance Of Alice Creed helmer J Blakeson, 28 Weeks Later helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Take Shelter and Mud director Jeff Nichols, Pacific Rim helmer Guillermo del Toro, The Impossible helmer Juan Antonio Bayona and Looper helmer Rian Johnson (Johnson’s reps deny he is in the hunt).
EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment has acquired The Boy Who Played With Fusion, the true story of Taylor Wilson, a 14-year-old Arkansan who became the youngest ever to achieve nuclear fusion. They are negotiating with Take Shelter and Mud writer-director Jeff Nichols to develop the film as a helming vehicle. The film will be developed through Chernin’s deal with Fox. Published in the March 2012 issue of Popular Science magazine by Tom Clynes, the article details an exceptionally smart and curious kid and what happens when his ordinary parents who didn’t quite understand how he’d become so gifted, gave him the room and encouragement to nurture his great gifts and passion for nuclear science and experimentation. When his grandmother became ill, the youth became involved in an attempt to harness the short-lived isotopes that kill cancer cells and then deteriorate before they harm healthy cells — in hopes that the cancer-curing isotopes could be generated on site at hospitals and save lives. He later harnessed his discoveries as an alarm system to root out dirty bombs in shipping containers.
The 7th Zurich Film Festival announced its award winners tonight, with Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter taking best feature film. This year’s edition also was marked by an appearance from Roman Polanski, who received the fest’s lifetime achievement award Tuesday. A list of competition winners follows:
Outstanding Performance By An Actor
Deon Lotz for Beauty
Outstanding Performance By An Actress
Corinne Masiero for Louise Wimmer
International Documentary Film Competition
Buck by Cindy Meehl (U.S.)
EXCLUSIVE: Candescent Films, a new venture formed to make films that advance a social agenda, is financing and co-producing a small slate of films that are passion projects of A-list talent. Spearheaded by Lilly Hartley, Candescent kicks off with Native, a drama being written by Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols, with Hartley producing with Sarah Green (The Tree of Life) and Automatik Entertainment’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. Candescent is also the catalyst for two documentaries. Javier Bardem is the star and producer of Sons of the Clouds, an in-producton documentary that explores the political and human rights issues facing the people of the Sahara, with an emphasis on a former Spanish colony in Africa that is now occupied by Morocco and where there are more than 200,000 refugees living in camps in the desert. Bardem is producing with Hartley and Alvaro Longoria of Morena Films. Longoria directed it and is close to finished, with Candescent financing.
Candescent is also financing development of The Fifth Estate, a feature documentary to be written and directed by The September Issue‘s R.J. Cutler that examines the future of journalism in the digital age, and the role of the Internet in 21st century democracy. WME Global’s Liesl Copland packaged both of the documentaries.