By Clark Collis
Updated April 11, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

At the start of this thriller, Michael C. Hall kills a burglar, and then checks out the funeral. Did the man who played both serial killer Dexter and a funeral director on Six Feet Under think he was being pranked when he read the screenplay? “I’m often sent scripts that have some murderous or graveyard element,” he says. The shooting puts Hall’s frame-store owner into conflict with the perp’s dad, played by Sam Shepard. (Don Johnson also turns up as a pig farmer/PI.) Shepard, a Pulitzer-winning dramatist, helped director/co-writer Jim Mickle by polishing a problematic script passage. “He showed up with this one-page scene, which was much simpler,” says Mickle. “So I just got that framed.”