Reese Witherspoon image

Boom! This might be the point where Jeff Nichols moves from indie darling to mainstream auteur. Deadline New York reports that the Little Rock director is in talks with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey to star in his next film, “MUD,” which is scheduled to shoot throughout Arkansas sometime this fall.

Here’s a synopsis courtesy of The Agency, which is handling casting in Arkansas:

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“Mud” written and to be directed by Nichols will begin filming this fall
in central and south Arkansas. It is a coming of age drama centered on two fourteen year old boys (Ellis and Neckbone) who encounter a mysterious fugitive (Mud) on an island in the Mississippi River. Intrigued by this man, the boys enter a pact to help him escape capture. A friendship evolves as Mud teaches the boys as much as he learns from them.

McConaughey would play “Mud.” Witherspoon would play “Juniper,” Mud’s soul mate. Tye Sheridan, who was excellent in “Tree of Life,” is in talks to play “Ellis.” And the Agency’s hoping to fill the role of “Neckbone” with an Arkansan. Details on the jump.

UPDATE: The open call is scheduled for the Little Rock Parkview Auditorium for this Sunday, August 14, from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Applicants should bring a non-returnable photo and anyone under 18 must have one parent or guardian.

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UPDATE II: More casting details in this PDF.

Earlier: A Q&A with Jeff Nichols (June 22, 2011)

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