Well, this is certainly an unconventional way for a new project from Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor to be announced, but we guess it's as effective a way as any. The duo have re-teamed for a new script, which will be previewed at a headlining staged reading at next month's Nantucket Film Festival.
Titled "The Lost Cause," the project looks to be an expansion of Taylor's 2004 short film of the same name. While there's no mention of who is taking the helm, Taylor is notably directing the stage reading, so he may be following his compatriot into full-length features. If not, it still seems unlikely that Payne would take the reigns with a fair bit on his upcoming slate (including "Nebraska," which he hopes will star Bruce Dern and Will Forte, around the corner). Either way, the project does sound intriguing. The coming-of-age story centers on a cleaner who moonlights as a Civil War reenacter, and follows his efforts to keep the spirit of his deceased mentor alive. Here's the full synopsis:
By night, C.J. Krieger labors on the cleaning crew at a Wal-Mart in Roanoke, Virginia. By day, he reenacts Civil War battles as a lieutenant in the 13th Alabama, led with fierce conviction by the man who introduced him to this “higher calling,” Captain Jeremiah Oakes. When Captain Oakes dies in battle, Krieger must fight to keep the unit together and honor the memory of his beloved mentor. But one by one, Krieger’s troops abandon him, until he finds himself alone and preparing to stage a final reckless assault against the cruel winds of history. Huzzah! Never forget! Never give up!
The Payne-Taylor combination is inarguably one that's worked very well in the past ("Election," "About Schmidt," "Sideways") with the duo also contributing to Miguel Arteta's modestly successful "Cedar Rapids" as producers. A "surprise all star cast" for the reading will be announced soon, and this is one we'll be keeping an eye on.