John / October 23rd, 2015

What’s going on with Jeff Nichols’ John Carpenter-esque “Midnight Special” you ask? Well, after being dated for November of this year, Warner Bros. pushed the film back to March 18, 2016. Some watercooler talk around The Playlist noted its the date this was all of one week ahead of the studio’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which doesn’t really give it much time to succeed or pick up an audience because WB will be 100% focused on their mega-franchise — easily their most important film of 2016.

However, we may have found an answer to WB’s release date reasoning for dropping “Midnight Special” in March. Kirsten Dunst, one of the co-stars in Nichols’ film, is currently promoting season two of “Fargo,” and she revealed on a recent Nerdist podcast that she will be in Austin, Texas with the film in March. The SXSW Film Festival runs from March 11-19, so if it makes its world premiere in Austin just a few days before its March 18th release, well, that makes perfect sense. SXSW is very indie/genre friendly, which is exactly what Nichols’ sci-fi-ish is. The director also lives in Austin, so it all just feels very much like a natural fit.

The official announcement won’t come until 2016, probably sometime in February after the buzz around Sundance has quieted. However, Dunst also said she’ll likely be in Park City, but for a completely different reason.

The actress revealed that she is currently co-writing a 1950s-set screenplay based on a book (of which she will not reveal the title) that she hopes to make her feature-length directorial debut. Dunst has already directed two shorts, one that starred Winona Ryder called “Welcome” from 2007, and “Bastard” in 2010. Dunst wouldn’t reveal details on the book but suggested it wasn’t a piece of fiction or traditional narrative she was adapting.

“It’s based on a book, but… it really could make it any way you [wanted],” she teased. “It’s the kind of book that — it could be so, so didactic and bad or you could really make a life of something [from it]. So you really need to make your own scenes up.”

“It’s a book that most women have read,” she continued. “I’m approaching it in a funny way. It’s going to be a dark comedy and I already have my actress — I’ve wanted to direct for a long time.” It sort of sounds like some kind of guide, manual or how-to book, but who knows really.

The “Fargo” actress says she’s still looking for financing, so she or her producers will likely go to Sundance to work on that. Dunst says the project is still in its “early days,” so in the meantime, we’ll just have to keep patient for “Midnight Special.”

Edward Davis, The Playlist



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