Jeff Nichols Talks About the Love and Bad Mentors of ‘Mud’

Jeff Nichols

One of my most anticipated films of the year is Jeff NicholsMud. Nichols is behind one of, if not the, best films of 2011: Take Shelter. With only two pictures under his belt, he’s quickly established himself as a filmmaker to get excited about.

Earlier today Nichols was kind enough to make the time for an interview to discuss Take Shelter, for the upcoming Blu-ray release. We discussed an array of topics, and Mud was briefly covered. Nichols was hard at work in the mood swing-sounding editing room when we spoke, and although he stated he’ll have clearer answers for the movie once it comes out, the writer-director shared enough details to give us a small sense of what to expect from Mud. After talking about the love-hate relationship with editing, the joy of shooting the Mississippi river with 35mm anamorphic cameras, the no bullshit (and awesome) attitude of Sam Shepard, Nichols touched upon the themes of the film:

Shotgun Stories was about revenge and Take Shelter focused on anxiety. What would you say Mud is about, in that sense?

It’s funny because the quickest answer would be it’s about love, but all the movies are about love, so that doesn’t count. Shotgun Stories is about loving your brothers and Take Shelter‘s about loving your family. [Laughs] This film is, it’s about a lot of things. It seems, to me, this film is about mentors, and it happens to be [about] mentors in love. It’s the idea of love, romantic love, and sometimes you don’t pick the right mentors for that. Or sometimes you find the right mentor for the right time in your life. Give me a few months on that.

Are you still discovering what the film is?

Yes and no. You write it, and then think it’s one thing. Then you edit it, and there are changes involved. Inevitably it comes back around to what your original intention was, and that’s the way it’s been on my first two films. You’ve caught me in the middle of the roller coaster ride right now, and I don’t want to misspeak.

And when I asked Nichols about religious undertones of Take Shelter and Shotgun Stories, he said, although that’s absent from Mud there’s definitely a “mystical” quality to the film.

Make sure to check back in the next few weeks for our full interview with Jeff Nichols. 

All you really need to know about Jack is his favorite movies are: The Last Detail, Rumble Fish, Sunset Boulevard, The Truman Show, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Verdict, Closer, Shadow of a Doubt, The Long Goodbye, Spider-Man 2, Jaws, Adaptation, Get Carter, The Last Days of Disco, Carnal Knowledge, Almost Famous, Ed Wood, Ace in the Hole, Barton Fink, and L.A. Confidential.

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