Michael Shannon is set to make his feature directorial debut with an adaptation of Brett Neveu‘s 2002 play, Eric Larue. The plot follows a mother named Janice whose 17-year-old son Eric shot and killed three of his classmates. Three months after his arrest, Janice has neither gone to see him nor found a way to deal with what happened.
As Janice faces an upcoming meeting with the mothers of the other boys in church, and a long-delayed visit to her son in prison, she must reckon with what she and others in similar positions think and do in order to survive trauma.
Neveu is adapting his play for the screen himself, and said that the play was a response to the Columbine High School massacre that occurred in 1999. 15 years later, while Shannon was directing the play Traitor, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. These two shootings to Neveu and Shannon deciding to collaborate.
Shannon said in a statement:
“Eric Larue has so much to say about our country, about the way we try (sometimes quite ineptly) to deal with the trauma of living here, which is so insidious because it does not present itself overtly in concrete terms most of the time.
Like most great stories, Eric Larue plays at the macro and a micro level simultaneously. 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.”
The project sounds incredibly timely, especially as it’s being announced days after another mass shooting on American soil. It might also have some similarities to Fran Kranz‘s Mass from last year, which also dealt with the fallout of a school shooting.
Shannon has long been known for his intense and emotional on-screen performances over his storied career, and he’ll likely bring those same qualities to his work behind the camera for what should be a grueling yet necessary experience.