Ashley Fetters
August 05, 2011 AT 09:36 PM EDT

The names “McConaughey” and “Witherspoon” are getting dragged through the Mud. But don’t worry — that’s not bad news.

Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and newcomer Tye Sheridan are in talks to star in Mud, an upcoming film from Everest Entertainment. The project is written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who also wrote and directed this year’s Cannes darling Take Shelter.

McConaughey would play the title role, a fugitive named Mud who befriends a 14-year-old boy named Ellis. (Chris Pine was reportedly interested in the role earlier this year.) The two strike up an unlikely friendship and embark on a dangerous journey in hopes of reuniting Mud with Juniper, the love of his life. Sheridan, who played one of Brad Pitt’s sons in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life earlier this year, would play Ellis, while Witherspoon would play Juniper.

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