Jeff Nichols’ 2023 crime drama movie The Bikeriders stars Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Mike Faist, Michael Shannon, and Norman Reedus. As the title suggests, the movie is about a motorcycle club founded in McCook, Illinois. The Bikeriders is said to be inspired by a 1967 photo book of the same name by Danny Lyon.

The Bikeriders
Mike Faist as Danny Lyon in The Bikeriders | Universal Pictures

The movie is scheduled for release later this month, but premiered at the 50th Telluride Film Festival in August 2023 and received positive reviews from critics. The Bikeriders was originally planned to be released in December 2023, but the release was delayed due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike.

Jeff Nichols talks about casting Challengers actor Mike Faist for The Bikeriders

Set in the 1960s, the story of the rise and fall of a Midwestern motorcycle club called Vandals MC, The Bikeriders stars Mike Faist as Danny Lyon, along with Austin Butler’s Benny, Jodie Comer’s Kathy, Tom Hardy’s Johhny, and more. In his interview with the Enquirer, the director shared the inspiration behind the movie and said (via AOL)

The film was inspired by a book by Danny Lyon. It came out in the late ‘60s. He rode with a club in Chicago called the Chicago Outlaws in 1965. He photographed that club and interviewed riders of that club, in particular the wife of a rider. I realized pretty quickly what Danny had done, which was to catch the full breadth of a subculture.

The Bikeriders
Austin Butler in The Bikerider

The filmmaker further mentioned that the photographs are romantic and beautiful, but the interviews are unvarnished, sometimes cruel, and hilarious. He mentioned that with all these interviews, the audience gets an understanding of how the minds of people in the motorcycle club work, adding that the reason origins are also understood through the interviews. Nichols said he fell in love with that idea.

Mike Faist plays Danny Lyon in the movie, which stretches out for years as the curious photographer gets to know Benny and Kathy throughout the 1960s and early ‘70s. Nichols shared that Faist strikes him as a person who is searching for meaning in the things he’s interested in. That is how he approached the role of Lyon. In his interview with Screendaily, the filmmaker said about casting Faist:

You know, we were really lucky to get Mike to say yes. He had just done Luca Guadagnino’s movie. I think he was a bit, you know, burned. He needed a bit of a reset, and luckily we were filming an hour away from his hometown. So I said, ‘Look, man, just come down, hang out with some good actors, and you know, it’ll be a nice, easy time. Uh, that was a lie, but except for the good actors part.

He added that it would have been very easy for the character to be a wallflower, but Mike Faist imbued his character with introspection and empathy. The filmmaker noted that the actor would get lost in Jodie Comer’s or Mike Shannon’s performance. He was truly engaged in the performance, mentioning that he has a questioning and insightful style, which makes him a perfect choice for the part.

Jeff Nichols mentions what the audience should take away from The Bikeriders

The filmmaker shared in his Enquirer interview that ‘nostalgia’ is something that comes to his mind when it comes to what the audience should take away from the movie. He explained (Via AOL),

What that means to me is that there was a very specific time, a very specific place, and a very specific group of people that, for a brief moment in time, did something unique. Now, it’s gone. We won’t really get to go back there except for this movie.

The Bikeriders' actor in The Challengers
The Bikeriders’ actor in The Challengers | Universal Pictures

Nichols mentioned that he wants all the people to walk away with the same feeling, adding that he knows it’s sad and a little wishful, but it also has its perks. Actor Tom Hardy, who is playing Johnny in the movie, spoke to ComicBook while talking about his character.

A vulnerability to somebody who externally projects himself or herself as something internally they’re not. I think that’s true of all people. There is a paradox of conflicting drives. So it is just something like that.

The Bikeriders opens in the theater on June 21st.

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