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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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