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This film review/interview was written by Evans Donnell.
Mud is a coming-of-age story that’s also a love letter to American literature and classic American movies. For writer-director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) it began with a simple idea that gestated for years in his creative imagination.
“It’s a pretty dense story and I think a part of that is the fact that I’ve carried this story with me longer than any other films I’ve made. I’ve been thinking about this since the late ’90s when I was in college,” the 34-year-old Arkansas native told ArtsNash, “…and I’ve been slowly adding details to it. I started with the idea of a man on this island in the Mississippi (River) and then built on that little by little. I knew that when I had that initial idea that it was a classic American story. I love Mark Twain…and I love classic American movies from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. This felt like an idea that could support those and other things that I love.
“You can’t plan a good film, much less a classic film…but the only way I know to hopefully make this resonate with an audience is to create a personal connection to the story. That’s where the whole ‘Mud and his first love’ story came from. It was something I experienced, that I could remember and was palpable for me. If you try not to think about what the whole world wants in a movie, but find something that you feel strong about emotionally, then I think you’ve got a shot of making a movie people will want to see.”