Michael Shannon is an actor with tremendous intensity, theatricality, and range. He commands attention in a way few other performers can. Whenever he’s on-screen, it’s hard to direct your focus anywhere else. And while it’s still too early to know what Shannon will be like on the opposite side of the camera, it’s easy to see why the Oscar-nominated actor secured such an esteemed ensemble for his directorial debut, Eric Larue. While the Take Shelter star isn’t expected to act, Shannon has acting heavyweights like Judy Greer, Alexander Skarsgard, Tracy Letts, Alison Pill, Kate Arrington, Paul Sparks, and Annie Parisse on board to frontline his much-anticipated film, which is in production in Wilmington, NC.
Deadline reported the news, though we’re still left in the dark as far as which characters these actors are playing. As previously reported, Eric Larue is based on Brett Neveu‘s 2002 play of the same name. The playwright also wrote the adapted screenplay. It follows the mother of a 17-year-old boy who shot and killed three of his classmates. As the story unfolds, particularly as the mother meets with the mothers of the three slain boys and plans a long-delayed visit with her imprisoned son, it becomes a story “not about the violence but about what we choose to think and do in order to survive trauma.”
While it’s unclear where Skarsgard, Greer, Letts, Pill, Sparks, and the rest of the ensemble fit in this currently-in-production film, all of these actors have proven themselves to be performers with tremendously volatile depths, and this project will hopefully play to their respective strengths.
Previously written as a response to the Columbine massacre in 1999, Eric Larue is a weighted play that tragically only continues to become more relevant. As we continue to hear about horrific mass shootings happening nationwide, Shannon’s first film will almost certainly be as bold and unflinching as the actor’s screenwork. Here’s how Shannon described Neveu‘s play in the past and what he hopes to do with his movie:
Like most great stories, Eric Larue plays at a macro and a mirco level simultenously. When I read the screenplay, I immediately knew I had to direct it. I saw it. I heard it. I could feel it. And I wanted to make sure that it received just the right touch in all its aspects, because at the end of the day, it is an extraordinarily delicate thing.
While Shannon is an actor who can bring a loaded ferocity to his work, it sounds like his first feature will have a tender, more introspective lens, which might play curiously against his long-defined image as an actor. We’ll simply have to wait to see how it comes together, but it’s definitely looking quite promising.
There’s no release date announced for Eric Larue, but we’ll keep you posted on the latest developments.