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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