YEAR: 2014

ROLE:  Ben Russel

DIRECTOR:  Jim Mickle

PREMIERED:  May 23, 2014

Plot Summary

COLD IN JULY tells the story of Richard Dane, a small town frame builder from East Texas who is forced to kill a man in self-defense. He then meets Ben Russel, a rough ex-con and the father of the man Dane shot, who is hell-bent on avenging his son’s death. But small town corruption and paranoia turn these bitter ennemies into unlikely allies, as the two guilt-stricken fathers begin a search for truth, aided by Dane’s tough minded wife and a pig-raising detective from the backwoods of Houston. Before it’s all over, they uncover a bigger secret, darker and more dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Film Details
Michael C. HALL..................Richard Dane
Don JOHNSON.............................Jim Bob
Vinessa SHAW.........................Dane's wife
Nick DAMACI............................Ray Price
Wyatt RUSSELL..............................Freddy

Production Notes

Filming took place during the summer of 2013 in Kingston, NY. Here are some production shots. The first photo shows Sam with Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson and  Kasey Lansdale, who will be singing on the soundtrack. Kasey's father, who wrote the book the film is based on, noted, "All the actors were awesome, and very nice as well. I was humbled by their ability to bring my novel alive, and by Jim Mickle's directing style. Great stuff all around."

Limited theatrical opening and VOD date - May 23, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release - September 30, 2014

Publicity Stills/Posters


Sam's performance

Matthew DeKinder, St. Louis Today:
"Shepard is great (and has turned into a bit of a workhorse, showing up in nine movies since 2011) and this is one of the better roles he’s had in a while."

Mike Scott, Times-Piscayune:
"...a wonderfully menacing Sam Shepard, he isn't nearly as forgiving as the police are. He's a country-justice sort, a man determined to collect his pound of flesh, terrorizing Hall's on-screen family like someone who has seen 'Cape Fear' a few too many times. Shepard is so good in the role that it's hard not to wonder if the better film would have been about his character than about Hall's."

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer:
"The 70-year-old Shepard exudes a menacing vitality as the gun-crazy Ben that's awe-inspiring."

Glenn Lovell, Cinema Dope:
"It’s not the violence that lingers, it’s the juicy, one-off performances by Hall and Shepard, who, besides writing some of his lines, has his meatiest role in I don’t know how long."

Chris Bumbray, 
The absolute coolest thing about "Cold in July" has to be the cast, led by the star trio of Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. If the plot synopsis makes this sound like a straight-forward “family-in-jeopardy” thriller, rest assured it's not. Hall killing Shepard's son is just the beginning in a seedy noir-styled actioner that gives Hall a nice change-of-pace from "Dexter", and somehow manages to make Sam Shepard something of an action hero despite him being in his sixties.

David Edelstein, Vulture:
"Shepard finds the perfect mix of unearthly cool and inner pain."

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register:
"Fresh out of 'Dexter,' Hall is affectingly determined as a professional picture framer proving himself in a hard guy’s world, and Shepard is a revelation, gradually disclosing the sensitivity beneath his menace."

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News:
"Hall, donning an understated mullet, shows dexterity playing a man whose innocence is tested. Shepard delves into unexpected, tortured emotions while Vinessa Shaw, playing Richard's wife, provides a clear vision of what late '80s Texas was really like."

Joy Tipping, Dallas News:
"Top three reasons to see the terrific East Texas-set Cold in July: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard (brilliant) and Don Johnson. There are also the swelteringly moody setting and the extraordinary writing by Nacogdoches’ Joe R. Lansdale, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nick Damici and director Jim Mickle, based on Lansdale’s book."

James Rocci, The Wrap:
"Sam Shepard is gloriously seamed and aged like fine wine."

Brian Tallerico, Film Threat:
"In terms of performance, Hall is essentially a straight man here, carrying the film from that gunshot at the beginning to its insane climax, and picking up scene-stealing Sam Shepard and Don Johnson on the way. Hall is not bad but Shepard steals the film, doing his best work in years. Everyone here is good, again clarifying Mickle’s strength as a director."

Evan Saathoff, Bad Ass Digest:
"Sam Shepard
offers a nice iteration of the cold and stoic Clint Eastwood type. There's not a lot beneath the surface here, but it's great to see Shepard get into a real sizable role like this instead of just show up for a near cameo as he often does lately."

Steve Sullivan, Ames Tribune:
"Though he has a less showy part, Shepard is terrific as Ben, delivering a portrait of a hardened tough guy slowed by age and regret."

Blogcritics Magazine:
"Hall is fantastic as the working-class father in over his head, with Shepard providing a sinister portrayal of a vengeful father not scared to get blood on his hands. But it’s surprisingly Don Johnson who barges in to steal the show. Jim Bob is a larger-than-life character to be reckoned with, but Hall and Shepard manage to carry the weight right through to the bitter end."

Eric Vespe, Ain't it Cool:
"Hall and Shepard are both great, with Hall doing his best to not remind us that Dexter Morgan would very neatly slice and dice his way out of most of the tough situations that Richard Dane finds himself in during the course of the movie and Shepard turning up the confident menace to 11."

Samuel Zimmerman, Fangoria:
"'Cold in July' is in the grand traditions of hard boiled and no-frills. The further it twists the better and better it gets, putting Hall and the incredible Sam Shepard side-by-side. Their chemistry is something else, amplified by the addition of Don Johnson, cast incredibly and with no sort of wink to the audience."

Scott Bowles, USA Today:
"Hall is convincing as a forgettable Joe with a mullet and a twang, while Shepard is channeling his best Cape Fear rage as a murderous thug bent on revenge."

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:
"Midway through the action, Richard (Dexter) makes the acquaintance of Houston private eye Jim Bob Luke, a recurring character in Lansdale’s books. Played to the hilt by Johnson, this sharp-dressed, smooth-talking cowboy pig farmer served in Korea with Ben (Shepard). Watching as the two veteran actors’ contrasting personas lazily ricochet off one another is among the film’s saltiest pleasures. Johnson is as proud and flashy as Jim Bob’s red convertible, while Shepard’s taciturn tough guy reeks of menace and a hardened heart."

Andrew O' Hehir, Salon magazine:
"Mickle understands the psychological, spiritual and even erotic appeal of a violent and damaged character like Shepard’s brooding, haunted Russel, and sees that Richard is drawn to the older man — the father of a long-missing boy who is now a man around Richard’s age — for reasons he can’t control. “Cold in July” plays by thriller rules and teaches its lessons according to thriller morality, which decrees that bad things happen because we secretly want them to."