Screenwriter Bob Nelson is having a good day. “I got an email from Sears saying I got $5 in points,” he explains. “So that was pretty good.” Anything else happen? “Oh yeah, the Academy Award thing,” he deadpans.
Tag: Alexander Payne (1-10 of 10)
With our apologies to Tolstoy, every family is awkward in its own way too, and the Grants of Hawthorne, Nebraska, are no exception.
In Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, an unexpected accident on Woody Grant’s (Bruce Dern) trip to Omaha finds him thrust back into his hometown for an unwanted stay with his extended family. Needless to say, his visit is full of extended silences and clumsy sincerity as a group of near strangers connected by blood and marriage and a general idea of a social contract attempt to uphold some sense of kinship amidst the mundane realities of their lives.
And boy does it get awkward.
Bruce Dern, the Oscar-nominated actor who’s generating awards buzz for his starring role in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, will receive the Career Achievement Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 4.
“Bruce Dern is truly a one of a kind performer,” said Festival chairman Harold Matzner, in a statement. “His skill at capturing the essence of a character, no matter how complex or unorthodox, is unique and unparalleled. In over 80 feature films, this talent is vividly reflected in such classic roles as the deranged pilot plotting a mass attack in Bloody Sunday, or the scarred Vietnam vet who returns home to find his wife embroiled in an affair with another man in Coming Home. In his latest cinematic endeavor Nebraska, certainly deserving of award recognition, Dern brings his consummate acting gifts to the role of an inscrutable elderly father who, with his son, journeys to claim a million dollar prize, while ultimately coming face to face with his past.”
Dern was nominated for an Oscar in 1979 for his supporting role in Coming Home. He also starred in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, The King of Marvin Gardens, The Great Gatsby, The ‘Burbs, and Django Unchained, among others. His current role in Nebraska has already been honored by the Cannes Film Festival and he’s in the conversation for an Oscar nomination.
Nebraska opened in a few theaters on Nov. 15. The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs Jan. 3-13.
If you have Midwestern roots, you probably know a Kate Grant. She’s hard-as-nails. She doesn’t suffer bullsh–. And, most importantly, she doesn’t have a filter.
In Nebraska, Descendants director Alexander Payne’s black-and-white ode to the heartland, June Squibb gives life to this archetype through the feisty Kate. The matriarch of the Grant family will just as soon call a long-deceased woman a whore as she’ll tell her son fairly explicit details about who fancied her in her youth.
“When I read this script I just thought, ‘I know this lady,’” Squibb told EW. “I’m from Illinois. I see her in my mother and my grandmother. Nothing surprised me.” According to Squibb, screenwriter Bob Nelson based the part on his mother-in-law.
The 84-year-old actress had worked with Payne in About Schmidt, which actually worked against her in the beginning. “In Alexander’s mind, I was that sweet lady that Jack was married to,” she says. But, despite his reservations, he gave her a shot. ”Her audition knocked my socks off,” Payne said Monday at the AFI Fest screening of Nebraska. “I didn’t have a second-place gal to play that part.”
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Cue the black and white. Starring Bruce Dern (who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival) as an elderly gentleman who believes he’s won a million dollars and Will Forte (yes, you read that right, SNL Will Forte) as the son who’s trying to let his father enjoy the moment without things going too far, Nebraska is all about life, family, and the possibility of being rich.
Directed by The Descendants and Election helmer Alexander Payne, Nebraska also stars Stacy Keach, June Squibb, and Breaking Bad‘s Bob Odenkirk.
Watch the trailer below:
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Cannes 2013: Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' is very minor Payne (but still a pleasure). Plus, my Palme d'Or prediction
Alexander Payne has become one of those figures who isn’t just a film director — he’s a genre. As much as I love Election, his 1999 breakthrough film, the Payne movie that really kicked off the Payne format was About Schmidt (2002). The leisurely, semi-planted version of the road-trip structure; the classically framed images of a falling-down American middle class that Hollywood is no longer in touch with and no longer knows how to show us; the earnest, damaged heroes with their family ties and family demons; the arcs that are built not out of screenwriting-class “story points” but, rather, out of experience — arcs that serve as emotional bridges from one state of being to another. Not every Payne film conforms to every one of these traits (The Descendants wasn’t a road movie — though I’d argue it was a road movie of the spirit), but Payne Land is still, by now, a familiar and even cozy place, with its own off-kilter humor and skewed, knuckleball humanity. READ FULL STORY
• Amy Adams is in talks to star in Dark Places, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s best-seller about a woman who is confronted by a group of amateur crime investigators about the murder of her family when she was seven years old. (Flynn is a former Entertainment Weekly writer and TV critic.) Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key) also penned the adaptation. [Variety]
• Pierce Brosnan will produce and star with Dominic Cooper in November Man, based on the spy thriller There Are No Spies by Michael Finch. Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, Thirteen Days) will direct. [TheWrap]
• Director Alexander Payne is keen on casting Bruce Dern and Will Forte as an irascible father and his son in Nebraska, his presumptive follow-up to The Descendants. No deals are in place. [Deadline]
• Isabelle Fuhrman (The Hunger Games, Orphan) will headline Suspiria, a remake of the 1977 Daria Argento horror film about a girl who learns her European school is a coven of witches. Director David Gordan Green co-wrote the script with Chris Gebert, who’d worked as a sound mixer on several of Green’s films. [Variety]
Casting Net: Channing Tatum eyeing thriller ‘White House Down.’ Plus: Taylor Lautner, Alan Rickman, Jessica Biel
Casting Net: Robert DeNiro jetting off to ‘Last Vegas.’ Plus: Jennifer Aniston, Dennis Quaid, Chloe Moretz
Casting Net: Cameron Diaz nears ‘The Counselor.’ Plus: Matthew McConaughey, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Chris Hemsworth
Ewan McGregor, Alexander Payne, and Diane Kruger will be part of the competition jury headed by Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti (We Have a Pope) at the 65th Cannes Film Festival in May. Organizers announced today that the trio would be joined by Palestinian actress-director Hiam Abbass, British filmmaker Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank), French actress Emmanuelle Devos, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck.
The jury will judge the 22 films in competition and award the Palme d’Or. Last year’s big winner was Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and this year’s in-competition slate includes Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis.
Toronto: 'The Descendants,' starring George Clooney, is another triumph for director Alexander Payne. Plus, when will Todd Solondz grow up?
Has it really been seven years since Alexander Payne’s last film? I thought Sideways (2004) was the most exquisite American romantic comedy since Annie Hall, and though it was only Payne’s third high-profile feature (after About Schmidt and Election), it locked in the essential elements of the Payne style: the naturalistic blend of humanity and wit (think ’80s Jonathan Demme meets Preston Sturges meets Jean Renoir), the New New Hollywood classicism that’s bubbly and spontaneous but always masterfully controlled, the sense that every story isn’t just a story but a journey. About Schmidt was a road movie, and Sideways started out as one — but even when Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church got to California wine country and parked themselves there, it felt as if they kept moving, because their drunken cracked voyage of discovery surprised and delighted you in every scene. It was a road movie of the soul. READ FULL STORY
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