Duo in negotiations to star in Jeff Nichols' coming-of-age drama

Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon are ready to get down and dirty — the duo are in negotiations to star in Jeff Nichols’ coming-of-age drama “Mud,” the writer-director’s first pic after his festival hit “Take Shelter.”

“The Tree of Life” thesp Tye Sheridan is also in talks to star in the pic, which Everest Entertainment (“127 Hours,” “Win Win”) is fully financing.

Described as a redemptive tale in the vein of “Stand By Me,” story follows a dangerous yet charismatic fugitive named Mud (McConaughey) and his unlikely friendship with 14-year-old Ellis (Sheridan), who’s determind to help Mud escape from the law and bounty hunters. Witherspoon plays Mud’s soulmate Juniper, with whom he’s desperately trying to reunite.

Everest founder Lisa Maria Falcone will produce with FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder and frequent Terrence Malick collaborator Sarah Green, who exec produced “Take Shelter.”

FilmNation CEO Glen Basner will exec produce, as his company will be handling international sales, as well as U.S. sales along with CAA. Everest’s Tom Heller and Gareth Smith also exec produced.

“Jeff Nichols has written a beautiful story with rich characters learning valuable lessons through life-changing circumstances,” Falcone said.

Pic is McConaughey’s fourth-straight indie after powering Lionsgate’s mid-budget courtroom thriller “The Lincoln Lawyer” to an $86 million worldwide gross this year. Since then, he’s wrapped a pair of dark indie comedies, Richard Linklater’s “Bernie” and William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe,” and he’s currently filming Lee Daniels’ thriller “The Paperboy.” Thesp is also reprising his role as a baseball scout on the third season of HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.”

Witherspoon, who last starred opposite Robert Pattinson in “Water for Elephants,” will next be seen alongside Chris Pine and Tom Hardy in McG’s “This Means War,” which she also produced. Thesp is attached to topline Disney’s “Wish List,” and she’s also set to produce and potentially star in DreamWorks’ bachelor party comedy “Who Invited Her?”

CAA reps both McConaughey and Witherspoon, who is also repped by Management 360.

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