YEAR: 2016

ROLE:  Calvin Meyer

DIRECTOR:  Jeff Nichols

THEATER PREMIERE:  March 18, 2016

Plot Summary

A father goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Ultimately, his father risks everything to protect Alton and help fulfill a destiny that could change the world forever in this genre–defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human.

Michael SHANNON.............Roy
Jaeden LIEBERHER..........Alton
Kirsten DUNST..................Sarah
Joel EDGERTON..............Lucas
Adam DRIVER.................Sevier
Paul SPARKS.........Agent Miller
Kerry CAHILL........Agent Linda
Sean BRIDGERS............Fredrik
Bill CAMP.........................Doak

Production Notes:

Filming commenced on January 20, 2014 for 40 days in New Orleans and wrapped on March 1.

Publicity Stills
Sam's Performance

Justin Chang, NPR:
"Sam Shepard brings his signature gravity to bear on the role of the cult leader, a more twisted sort of father figure."

Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile:
"The film begins with a masterclass in powerful minimalist performance from Sam Shepard as the head of the sect - the Ranch - which plays a key role on Alton's story."

Kenneth Turan, LA Times:
"...a religious cult called Third Heaven Ranch led by the shrewd, charismatic Calvin Meyer - the reliable Sam Shepard."

Joshua Rothkopf, Timeout NY:
"A deliciously evil Sam Shepard."

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club:
"The Ranch is led by the smug Caleb Meyer - Sam Shepard, typically excellent."

Nicholas Barber, BBC:
There aren't many films that pack so much intrigue into their early scenes. The later scenes, unfortunately, aren't quite so gripping. First, Nichols makes the mistake of leaving Calvin and The Ranch behind, thus neglecting one of cinema's cast-iron rules: 'Any film with Sam Shepard in it will seem a lot worse once Sam Shepard is no longer in it.'"

Stephen Romei, The Australian:
"Roy is Alton’s father. Lucas is Roy’s friend. They have taken Alton from a cult known as The Ranch, where for the past two years he has been the adoptive son of the leader, a flinty, smart Sam Shepard."
"The weak link, surprisingly, is Kirsten Dunst as the boy’s mother, who comes to the party late and can never seem to find her footing. That is quite the contrast to Sam Shepard, who absolutely dominates the early going, only to disappear from the movie. Shepard’s screen presence is off the charts. This role and his turn in last year’s superb thriller, 'Cold in July', show that he is simply a script away from an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor."

Christopher Campbell,
"Although not lacking in intelligence, 'Midnight Special' isn’t necessarily smart science fiction so much as a smartly directed road trip movie with a sincerely felt science fiction element. It’s a father and son tale first and would be strong with that center even without the genre qualifications. Considering that, however, raises the only issue worth having with the movie, which is that its other major paternal character, a cult leader played by Sam Shepard just disappears midway in and we never hear about him again. Otherwise, it’s nearly perfect."

Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail: 
"The film begins with startling mystery as Alton is abducted by his own father with the help of an unexplained but steadfast confederate named Lucas. Turns out, they are escaping a fundamentalist Texan cult where the stoney-faced patriarch, a chillingly tamped-down cameo from Sam Shepard, has forcibly adopted Alton."

Leonard Maltin, IndieWire:
"The superior supporting cast includes Adam Driver as an inquisitive NSA agent who doesn’t follow the rulebook, Kirsten Dunst as Lieberher’s estranged mother, and Sam Shepard as a religious cult leader who feels he has a claim on the boy."