Payne Nebraska

It's been known for a little while now that Alexander Payne will follow up "The Descendants" with a black-and-white road-trip film tentatively titled "Nebraska." At one stage, it was reported that a number of veterans, including the retired Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, his "About Schmidt" star Jack Nicholson and 'Descendants' co-star Robert Forster were being eyed for the the lead of the film, an aging alcholic father. It now appears that Payne is zeroing in on a lead (though no word if its any of the aforementioned actors).

"I cannot announce it because I don't even think the actor has received the script yet [but] it's in the process right now," the writer-director told ComingSoon. "It's a father/son road trip from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska, but it gets waylaid at a crappy town in central Nebraska where the father grew up and where he has some old scores to settle. It's just a little comedy. It's nothing fancy. Nothing too ambitious. It's a nice little comedy."

The project -- which has actually been brewing since 2004 but was put on the backburner due to Payne's run of road-trip films at the time -- was aiming for an April start date. "Nebraska" follows the story of an aloholic father who thinks he's won the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes and takes a ride with his son to cash in the winnings. Could we be talking about another Payne film during award season this time next year? Two in two years, after a seven year absence (which he blames on ambitious political sci-fi pic "Downsizing") between "Sideways" and 'Descendants'? Yes, please.

Payne also added that he doesn't "see a lot of contemporary American films. I also look forward to being educated about more actors out there and having an actor presented to me whom I never could have imagined." Whether this is a reference to casting for this project remains to be seen, but it was noted once that Paramount is only giving him $10 million to play with, and greenlighting the film will be contingent upon getting a major star to sign on. If the April start date is still being eyed, we'll surely hear more about this very soon.