Lionsgate, Roadside sling Jeff Nichols’ ‘Mud’
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are in advanced discussions to acquire U.S. rights to Jeff Nichols’ “Mud,” which stars Matthew McConaughey as the title character, along with Reese Witherspoon and Michael Shannon. Distribs plan a 2013 release.
Cannes competition pic was fully financed by Everest Entertainment (“127 Hours”), which produced with overseas distributor FilmNation Entertainment.
Redemptive coming-of-age tale follows a dangerous yet charismatic fugitive named Mud (McConaughey) and his unlikely friendship with Arkansas teens Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who help Mud escape from the law and bounty hunters. Witherspoon plays Mud’s soulmate Juniper, with whom he’s desperately trying to reunite.
Pic also stars Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon and Joe Don Baker.
Everest founder Lisa Maria Falcone produced with FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder and Sarah Green, who exec produced Nichols’ drama “Take Shelter.” Everest’s Tom Heller and Gareth Smith exec produced with FilmNation CEO Glen Basner, whose company handled international sales. FilmNation also repped domestic rights along with CAA.
“We have had an extraordinary journey with this film so far, from the rivers of rural Arkansas to the French Riviera, and it is fitting that our next step is with partners like Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions,” said Falcone. “Their teams share our passion for unconventional, unique material, and they have a deep understanding of how to bring such distinctive films to market.”
“‘Mud’ is a riveting mystery thriller set in American river country with a stellar cast by one of our greatest new cinematic voices, Jeff Nichols, and top specialty film producers Everest Entertainment,” said Howard Cohen, co-prexy of Roadside Attractions. “We see it very much in keeping with films like ‘Margin Call’ and the upcoming ‘Arbitrage,’ which are quality, commercial, performance-driven films that benefit from the unique partnership of Lionsgate and Roadside, where we can each shine in our respective media.”
Lionsgate, which owns 43% of Roadside, previously teamed with the distrib on J.C. Chandor’s “Margin Call” and Nicholas Jarecki’s “Arbitrage,” which opens Sept. 14. Other recent Roadside releases include “Albert Nobbs” and “Friends With Kids.”
Lionsgate & Roadside Attractions Get Dirty With Jeff Nichols’ ‘Mud’ Starring Matthew McConaughey; Eyeing 2013 Release Date
Fans of Jeff Nichols’ 2011 film “Take Shelter” may be slightly disappointed to hear they’ll have to wait a bit longer to see the director’s latest. “Mud” stars Matthew McConaughey (continuing his remarkable career turnaround) as the eponymous fugitive who forms an unlikely friendship with a pair of Arkansas teens who help him evade capture and reunite with his soulmate Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Oh, and this being a Jeff Nichols movie, Michael Shannon also stars – no surprise there.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions look set to secure the U.S. distribution rights to the film, which played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this spring, and has already hit theaters in France. The distributors are eyeing a 2013 release date for “Mud,” and they’ll no doubt be hoping to eclipse the modest $1.7million domestic take for “Take Shelter” with names like McConaughey and Witherspoon attached. They’ll likely be watching how “Killer Joe” fares as well, as it continues to slowly expand.
We caught “Mud” at Cannes and were slightly underwhelmed considering the strength of the director’s previous picture, and awarded it only a passing C grade. Well, you’ll now need to wait until next year to see if you agree with our man on the ground. As for Nichols, he’s already moving on and is hard at work on his fourth feature “The Boy Who Played With Fusion.”
– Indie Wire