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Jeff Nichols courts big names for next film 

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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.

The film 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," according to a synopsis courtesy of The Agency, which is handling casting in Arkansas.

McConaughey would play "Mud." Witherspoon would play "Juniper," Mud's soul mate. Tye Sheridan, seen recently in "The Tree of Life," is in talks to play "Ellis." And The Agency's hoping to fill the role of "Neckbone" with an Arkansan in an open call scheduled for the Little Rock Parkview Auditorium for 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14. Applicants should bring a non-returnable photo and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. See more casting details at arktimes.com/neckbone.

Nineties R&B standouts En Vogue, SWV and Silk will headline the Delta Classic 4 Literacy Old Skool Concert on Friday, Sept. 2, at Riverfest Amphitheatre. Tickets — $20 for general admission, $45 for seats, $75 for VIP — are available via Uncle T's, Ugly Mikes, Arkansas Baptist College, Next Day Wireless and the Record Rack in Pine Bluff.

More concert news: Rappers Gucci Mane and 1017 Brick Squad come to Clear Channel Metroplex Friday, Aug. 19, for a concert and after party. The show is hosted by JoJo Everythangs and Drumma Boy, with music from Dr. Feelgood.

Advanced tickets, available via Uncle T's, Ugly Mikes, Arkansas Baptist College, Next Day Wireless and the Record Rack in Pine Bluff, come in three flavors: $25 gets you in the door, $50 gets you in the VIP section with a private bar and $75 gets you VIP access plus free drinks and food.

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Speaking of...

  • Jeff Nichols, 'Loving' and the space in between

    November 17, 2016
    In a strictly technical sense, "Loving" is about the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned anti-miscegenation laws, removing restrictions against interracial marriage in the United States. That's a little misleading, though, at least insofar as that description conjures up images of courtroom drama. Nichols strips all that away, making "Loving" exactly what its name implies: a love story. /more/
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    Little Rock native Jeff Nichols brought his new acclaimed film "Loving" to the Ron Robinson Theater last night ahead of the movie's wide release on Friday. The ticketed event raised $10,000 for the Tiger Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits Central High School, Nichols' alma mater. /more/
  • Jeff Nichols returns to Little Rock for Arkansas premiere of "Loving"

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    Director Jeff Nichols returns to his hometown Monday, Nov. 14, for the first Arkansas screening of “Loving,” Nichols’ depiction of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple whose civil rights case resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of all race-based legal restrictions on marriage. /more/
  • The trailer for Jeff Nichols' 'Loving' looks great

    July 14, 2016
    The latest from Little Rock's Jeff Nichols hits theaters Nov. 4. It's Nichols' telling of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose marriage led to the landmark civil rights case Loving v. Virginia, which ended laws preventing interracial marriage. Ruth Negga's performance as Mildred Loving generated Oscar talk after the film debuted at Cannes. /more/
  • Filmmaker Jeff Nichols shows 'Loving' at Cannes. Good timing.

    May 16, 2016
    Here's Vox with a report on the premier at Cannes of "Loving," the feature film treatment by Little Rock native Jeff Nichols of the case that brought an end to laws against interracial marriage. The theme has many parallels in current times, which Nichols talks about. /more/
  • Jeff Nichols' "Loving" up for Cannes Film Festival Award

    May 11, 2016
    Jeff Nichols' "Loving," a film depicting the landmark civil rights case that overturned anti-miscegenation laws, is up for the Palme d'Or at this year's Canne Film Festival. /more/
  • Nichols' 'Loving' to compete for Palme d'Or at Cannes

    April 19, 2016
    Little Rock-born film director Jeff Nichols, whose stature as a young auteur has been steadily growing with the success of films like 2012's "Mud" and his most recent sci-fi offering "Midnight Special," will get another chance to put a very big feather in his cap next month. His latest film, "Loving," has been selected to compete for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in France. /more/
  • 'Midnight Special' subverts the superhero-industrial complex

    March 31, 2016
    It's the latest from Little Rock's Jeff Nichols. /more/
  • Behind the scenes of Jeff Nichols' 'Midnight Special'

    March 4, 2016
    WIRED magazine 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 takes us behind the scenes of his forthcoming "Midnight Special" and even offers new insights on 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." /more/
  • Jeff Nichols to direct 'Aquaman,' according to leaked emails

    December 15, 2014
    The revelations from last month's massive Sony hack have so far included embarrassing financial statements, embarrassing emails and many other categories of embarrassments. Sony employees hate their own movies, for instance, and Channing Tatum writes weird emails. And now even Arkansas is involved, however tangentially, with the news that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols might be attached to direct the "Aquaman" movie. /more/
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