Earlier this week, director Wes Ball’s long-brewing Mouse Guard movie was officially pronounced dead thanks to the Disney/Fox acquisition, leading Ball and others involved with the project to give us a glimpse into the work they’d done developing the movie. Now Mouse Guard has unfortunately found a new companion in cancellation in the form of Fox’s Alien Nation remake, which was to be directed by Jeff Nichols (Midnight Special, Mud, Take Shelter). Nichols had spent three years working on the script, and now that work seems to have been for naught.
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A Jeff Nichols movie hasn’t played in theaters in for two years now. We recently saw another project from the director of Take Shelter and Mud, a short film based on a Lucero song, but not since Loving has he shot another feature. However, based on all the projects he’s working on and the ideas he’s toying with, including an Alien Nation remake and an animated kids movie, we might not have to wait much longer for another Nichols feature. And when we do see his sixth movie, it’ll be a reflection of the times –Nichols is sure of that.
The filmmaker recently spoke with us for an extended interview about his short film The Long Way Back Home, and following up part one and part two of our conversation with him, we now dive into what’s next for Nichols, what he’s been binge-watching, and why he doesn’t believe we’re living in the golden age of television.
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In the hands of director Jeff Nichols, the Alien Nation remake is not going to be just another buddy cop movie. When the news broke that Nichols was going to remake Graham Baker‘s entertaining sci-fi crime movie, it was hard imagining Nichols cranking out a routinely faithful remake. While the 20th Century Fox project could be his biggest project yet if it’s given the green light, the filmmaker says the story is just as personal as his previous films.
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“I know a lot of people hate the endings of my movies.”
A lot of people may be an overstatement, based on how much audiences and critics have praised his movies in the past, but director Jeff Nichols is well aware that one or two of his endings have left some viewers frustrated. They’ve sparked plenty of debate, and those conversations haven’t always been enjoyable for Nichols, who dissects his work with a real critical eye. He’s arguably his biggest critic.
Funnily enough, it’s perhaps most beloved and successful movie, Mud, that has the ending he’s rewritten in his mind. He’s still happy with the final image of two legends sharing the screen together, Mud and the late Sam Shepard, but when he recently spoke with us about his Lucero short film, he told of us a different ending he’s imagined for Mud. Nichols also told us about working with Michael Shannon, his thoughts on the ending of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and a ’60s biker movie he wants to direct one day.
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For over five years, Jeff Nichols has been talking about trying his hand at a biker movie. The writer-director behind Mud and Take Shelter has yet to write a script, but he knows the story is set in the 1960s and is dead set on making the movie one day. The filmmaker, who is currently working the Alien Nation remake and a script for an animated film, recently shared with us some of his ideas about his potential biker movie, and why he’s intimidated by it.
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Jeff Nichols‘ very first music video is both new and familiar for the filmmaker. The director behind Mud, Take Shelter, and Loving reunited with a slew of his frequent collaborators, including actor Michael Shannon and cinematographer Adam Stone, to create a music video/short film for Lucero’s new album, “Among the Ghosts.” It isn’t Nichols’ first collaboration with his brother (and Lucero frontman) Ben Nichols, but him directing a short based on a Lucero song was always an inevitability.
The song “The Long Way Back Home,” which is about a criminal on the run, immediately struck a chord with Nichols. It’s not the first time the Mud director has shown a criminal fleeing the law, or told a story about bad blood between brothers. In Long Way Back Home, a man (Shannon) searches for his two brothers (played by Garret Hedlund and Scott McNairy) in a story reminiscent of At Close Range and Nichols’ debut film, Shotgun Stories.
We recently spoke with the director at great length about the short film, his career, and what’s next for him. In part one of our three-part Jeff Nichols interview, you can read what he had to say about the making of Long Way Back Home.
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Writer/director Jeff Nichols has spent his career making movies about families, from 2007’s feud-driven drama Shotgun Stories all the way up to 2016’s powerful biopic Loving. Now he’s back with a new short film called Long Way Back Home, a mystery that stars frequent collaborator Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), who has appeared in every one of Nichols’ films so far.
If that reunion somehow isn’t enough to convince you to watch this, maybe the presence of actors like Scoot McNairy (Argo) and Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound) playing Shannon’s morally questionable brothers will help. Read More »
Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2016 by Angie Han
Note: With Loving in limited release this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the TIFF.
Jeff Nichols has never been one for outsized drama. It’s not that dramatic things don’t happen in his movies — on the contrary, his films are full of superpowered kids and apocalyptic dreams and the like. But he often seems less interested in big events than in all the moments in between, the everyday bonds and minute details that make up the textures of everyday life.
In Loving, Nichols applies that same approach to the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws across the country. Aided by awards-worthy performances from Joel Edgerton and especially Ruth Negga, Nichols delivers an intimate drama that feels all the bigger for keeping its scope so resolutely small. Read More »
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Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2016 by Angie Han
What a time to be a Jeff Nichols fan. Earlier this year the director released his Amblinesque adventure Midnight Special, and this fall he’s back with Loving. The civil rights drama played at TIFF last week to rave reviews after premiering at Cannes in May, and in just a few more weeks it’ll make its way to theaters.
Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton lead the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving. Their mixed-race marriage sparked a years-long legal battle that culminated in the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws all across the country. Nichols’ understated humanity adds an intimate touch to a dramatic real-life tale, and Negga is already getting awards buzz for her performance as Mildred. Watch the Loving trailer below. Read More »
Posted on Friday, September 9th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
We’re big fans of director Jeff Nichols around these parts. I loved his science fiction drama Midnight Special when I saw it at SXSW earlier this year and it’s still my favorite movie of 2016 so far. His other 2016 release, the drama Loving, was ranked number two on our list of most anticipated Fall movies and our own Angie Han has written a rave review from TIFF. And then there’s the fact that his filmography also includes gems like Take Shelter, Mud, and Shotgun Stories. Nichols is one our most humane filmmakers and he’s brought his gentle touch with him even as his budgets have steadily grown bigger.
And that makes the prospect of him signing on to remake the science fiction buddy cop movie Alien Nation one of the most intriguing and promising pieces of movie news to arrive this year.
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