Midnight Special, a sci-fi thriller from writer/director Jeff Nichols, premiered at SXSW this past weekend. It's the tale of Alton (played by Jaeden Lieberher), a young boy with very special supernatural powers and his father (Michael Shannon) who must go on the run to protect him. Along the way they'll battle a manhunt from religious extremists and the federal government. The film also stars Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Shepard and Adam Driver.
Known primarily as an indie filmmaker (Nichols' previous films include Mud and Take Shelter), Midnight Special is Nichols' first major studio production, though the film retains its independent sensibilities. When meeting with Warner Bros. before production ever began, Nichols recalled in an interview with Wired that he told studio executives, "I need two things: Michael Shannon and final cut. Well, three things, because: $20 million."
And in an age where shooting digitally has become de rigueur, Nichols and his longtime cinematographer Adam Stone chose to shoot the feature on film, citing that it gives a more realistic view of how the human eye views the world.
As to why Nichols chose to write Midnight Special he said simply, "The main reason I wrote this film was to try and express the feelings I have as a new father."
After its SXSW premiere, the film has received considerable buzz and critics have responded favorably with nods to the glory days of sci-fi greats such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.
Midnight Special opens in select theaters March 18 and gets a wide release April 1.