NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- Writer-director Jeff Nichols says he had the good fortune to cast Adam Driver in his upcoming supernatural drama film Midnight Special before Star Wars: The Force Awakens made the actor a huge movie star.
"You have to give credit where credit is due. Greg Silverman, the head of the [Warner Bros.] studio, recommended him. They'd worked on another film together and I wasn't familiar with his work. I hadn't watched Girls," Nichols told reporters during a roundtable interview in New York Monday.
"And I hate to say this, but sometimes you get studio-executive notes and you're like, 'Oh, OK, I'll check this guy out.' But, in this particular instance, it was an amazing note. It was an amazing idea and I remember my casting director Francine Maisler -- who, she's no joke, she's the real deal -- she talked to me before I talked to Adam Driver on the phone for the first time and she was like, 'Don't mess it up.' And I just didn't understand all the puzzle pieces or the chess pieces that were getting moved around the universal board in the background and I talked to him and he was just delightful. He had seen [my early film] Shotgun Stories, which was like one of 17 people, and we just had this great conversation about this character [in Midnight Special.] This character that out of the list of them could be the most cliché, could be the most stock and he had ideas about that. And they were good ideas. ... I was tremendously impressed with him."
The film focuses on Roy, a man who whisks Alton -- his young son and a boy with extraordinary powers -- away from a religious cult's compound and goes on the run from various church members and government officials. Michael Shannon plays the father, Jaeden Lieberher plays the son and Driver plays quirky NSA Agent Sevier, who is called in to help figure out who or what the child is.