Midnight Special: Director Jeff Nichols on his Favorite Actor, Michael Shannon

Austin-based filmmaker Jeff Nichols had the North American premiere for his latest work, Midnight Special, on Saturday night.
He brought along with him many of the stars of his Warner film, including Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, and young Jaeden Lieberher.
Midnight Special, a sci-fi chase movie, centers on a father (Shannon) who will do anything to protect his son (Lieberher) who has mysterious superpowers.
“At the time, my wife and I had an eight-month-old, and he had something called a febrile seizure, it’s the body’s reaction to a spiking fever. He’s fine, but it was very scary for us. As a new father, it jolted me awake that this little person is precious and I have absolutely no control over his place in this world,” said Nichols when asked about he idea for Midnight Special.
“I started thinking about fatherhood and if I can’t control his environment, if I can’t keep him safe, I can’t control who he’s going to grow up to be, why am I here?” he said. “I started thinking that being a parent was about helping them define who they are … help them to understand who they are.”
Nichols, whose previous films include Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter andMud, has worked with Shannon on every one of his films. Shannon will also appear in his next film, Loving, which stars Edgerton.
“He makes me a better writer, I know he makes me a better director,” said Nichols of Shannon. “I tried to whittle down as much of the narrative exposition as possible. I knew I’d have Mike anchoring this thing.  He’s so good between the lines, in between all the dialogue.”
Shannon, whose other recent credits include Man of Steel and 99 Homes, said of Nichols: “I feel really at home in Jeff’s work. I feel like I can relate to it. I do other things that are very different, but I always feel like I’m coming home when I get a chance to work with Jeff.”