Paul Dano has worked with some of the most talented filmmakers in the industry – Paul Thomas Anderson, Kelly Reichardt, Denis Villeneuve, Steve McQueen, Bong Joon-ho; the list goes on. So when an actor with that impressive of a filmography decides to step behind the camera, it’s enough to grab your attention.

Dano makes his directorial debut with Wildlife, a 1960s drama about a nuclear family. It doesn’t hurt that he managed to land two fantastic leads, Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, for his first time in the director’s chair. Wildlife, which made its debut at Sundance earlier this year, finds Mulligan as a mother struggling to hold her family together when her husband, Gyllenhaal as a pro golfer, leaves to help fight a fire raging nearby. The trailer certainly looks like a great showcase of another stunning Mulligan performance, plus some promising work from newcomer Ed Oxenbould, who plays the couple’s son.

Here’s the official synopsis:

IFC Films presents WILDLIFE, the directorial debut of Paul Dano (THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), co-written along with Zoe Kazan (THE BIG SICK). Elegantly adapted from Richard Ford’s novel of the same name, Carey Mulligan (MUDBOUND, AN EDUCATION) delivers one of her finest performances to date as Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family. Fourteen-year-old Joe played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould, is the only child of Jeanette (Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal)—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job—and his sense of purpose—he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, WILDLIFE commits to the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents’ marriage.

Dano’s film got rave reviews out of Sundance, hailing it as Mulligan’s best work to date (which is saying something) and an impressive debut from the actor-turned-director. This is definitely one we can’t wait to check out. Wildlife hits theaters this fall on October 19.

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