WIRED has a great new profile of Little Rock filmmaker Jeff Nichols out this month, written by the always-perceptive Amy Wallace. Aside from being probably the best and most comprehensive piece written on Nichols to date, it also takes us behind the scenes of his forthcoming “Midnight Special” and offers new insights on his previous works, from “Shotgun Stories” (“He wrote the script in his father’s furniture store, “surrounded by mattresses,” and edited it in his laundry room”) to “Mud.”
We also learn more about what Nichols has been up to in recent years:
In July 2015, Warner Bros. announced that it was postponing Midnight Special’s release from Thanksgiving to the spring of this year. So much time has passed since the end of production on Midnight Special that Nichols has already directed another indie feature he wrote. He even shot a commercial (his first ever) for Procter & Gamble, in Uruguay, Romania, and Shanghai. It put, he said, “a lot of money” in his pocket— a “financial cushion” that he hopes will allow him to make wise creative decisions without worrying about feeding his family, at least for a while.
He differentiates “Midnight Special” from one of its primary inspirations, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (“I do awe, but I don’t do wonderment”), and weighs his options in terms of the scale of his future projects: “Part of me feels like, ‘OK, if you’re going to do it, Nichols, you gotta do it now: Go get somebody superfamous and get a giant movie, or write one, but make it big and take your shot.”
In the end, Wallace offers her own, enticingly positive assessment of the film:
Several scenes were so haunting that I found myself rewatching them in my head, just as Nichols had hoped. The effects were great; awe was engendered. But more than that, I was struck—or should I say leveled?—by the film’s exploration of parental devotion and the need, ultimately, to let your child go. In other words, yes, I cried in a Jeff Nichols sci-fi movie. Experiential? Check. Moving? Very.
Read more at Wired.