Given that their idea of fun is running around in circles and getting high on Ribena, kids are pretty weird at the best of times.
The kid in Midnight Special is something else entirely. For a start, he shoots light from his eyes. Is he possessed? The second coming? Has he just swallowed a torch? We asked writer and director Jeff Nichols to shine a light.
“I didn’t borrow any specific plot elements from any other films,” he says. “I was really thinking about my own life and my own son, what it would be like if he was sick and how I would manage that.”
To do so, Nichols brought together a stellar cast featuring Adam “Kylo Ren” Driver, Michael “General Zod” Shannon and Kirsten “Mary Jane” Dunst for a chase movie that sees the kid in question pursued by his adopted father, the head of an extreme religious sect and the FBI. The follow-up to Nichols’s acclaimed 2012 film Mud, it’s also his first working with a serious studio budget. His debut, 2007’s Shotgun Stories, cost just $250,000 compared to Midnight Special’s $18 million. Was it hard not to let all that cash go to his head?
“Creatively, I’ve had make sure all my films could be made for a certain price,” says Nichols. “I’ve really enjoyed having that extra budget, but we’ve still tried to pull off way more than we had money for.”
And indeed he has done, which is why we’re delighted it’s out latest ShortList Film Club pick. Head to ShortList.com for more information on our exclusive preview screenings.
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Words: Rich Pelley