'Mud' Director Reunites With Michael Shannon For Sci-Fi At Warner Bros. [Updated]

With a stretch of ever more-impressive films that includes Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and the excellent recent release Mud, director Jeff Nichols has been a sort of indie king. But he's just made the jump to studio pictures, by selling a movie pitch to Warner Bros. Or he's in the process of making the jump at least, as Deadline reports that Nichols has sold his next movie, which shoots early next year, to the studio.

Update: A new report says that Michael Shannon will star, and calls the film a "sci-fi chase film," which pegs it as Midnight Special. More below.

So what's the film? This report doesn't say. We know that Nichols has been writing one film called Midnight Special, which he has called a sci-fi picture inspired by John Carpenter — Starman in particular — and which he calls "a government chase film" and his own take on a sci-fi genre picture.

He also recently told The Playlist he wants to make "a big, PG summer blockbuster family film" and mentioned wanting to "revamp Tremors." And he has talked up a project based on a documentary that would "hopefully be austere, quiet, sad, and beautiful."

So if the WB project is any of those, it probably won't be the last one. The real identity of the film will probably be revealed soon, and no matter what the project is, I hope Nichols finds the same sort of support WB has given a director like Ben Affleck, and that he's able to continue his development as a storyteller without the uncertainty of working in the indie realm.

Update: Variety reports that Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter lead and Mud cameo player Michael Shannon is cast in the film. Perhaps Shannon's experience with WB on Man of Steel helped this deal along? The trade doesn't have a title for the film, but says Nichols is writing and Sarah Green and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones are producing. The description ("a present day sci-fi chase film") pretty much locks it as the aforementioned Midnight Special.