Actress Sissy Spacek will take a seat in the director’s chair


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EXCLUSIVE: Over a remarkable 40-year acting career, Sissy Spacek has been nominated for an Oscar six times, played roles as diverse as Carrie and Loretta Lynn, and worked with directors as iconic as Terrence Malick, Costa-Gavras and Brian De Palma. But she’s never taken a turn behind the camera.

That looks likely to change very shortly. The actress is preparing to direct her first film, says Jack Fisk, Spacek’s husband and Malick’s longtime production designer. (The couple met on the set of the director’s 1973 debut, ‘Badlands.’)


Spacek will helm ‘Buttermilk Sky,’ a 1930s drama based on a novel about a young mother called ‘Goodbye to the Buttermilk Sky’ by Julia Oliver. [Corrected: An earlier version of this post referred to the book as containing supernaturally-inflected short stories.]

Oliver’s book centers on various relationships in Depression-era Alabama. Publishers Weekly has said that, in her writing, Oliver offers what are ‘essentially parables of modern life, often profiling people at a pivotal moment after the death of a spouse, divorce or some other milestone.’ [Update, 7:52 p.m.: A spokesman for Spacek says that the film has now been renamed ‘Sweet Tea’ and will also feature a script from C. Gaby Mitchell (‘Blood Diamond’).]

Spacek, who will next appear in the Southern drama ‘The Help,’ has held the option on ‘Buttermilk Sky’ at various points in the 10 years since it came out.

The cast is being lined up and will be announced in the coming days, Fisk said, with Spacek not expected to star herself. But given the sort of acting talent the performer has worked with over the years, it’s easy to imagine a long list of notable names.

--Steven Zeitchik