Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

Alexander Payne Calls 'Downsizing' His "Epic Masterpiece"; Says 'Nebraska' Could Be In Color For TV

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 18, 2011 at 7:26AM

But Says 'Downsizing' May Have To Wait Two More FilmsNot only is Alexander Payne back with his first feature film in seven years, "The Descendants," he's once again going to be one of the major players of the awards season. Moreover, he doesn't intend for there be another lengthy gap between pictures. He's already putting the pieces together for his low budget, father/son road trip drama "Nebraska." Granted, his aim to deliver the film to theaters in black-and-white means 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 (Gene Hackman, Robert Forster, Jack Nicholson and Robert Duvall are some of the candidates being tossed around). However, as he begins to navigate the press gauntlet in the run up to "The Descendants," Payne spoke with Thompson On Hollywood and revealed that his long absence from movie screens was due to the "time suck" of his long gestating project "Downsizing" -- something he still hopes to make -- and that he's willing to play ball with the studio and deliver a color cut of "Nebraska," if required, for television.
0

But Says 'Downsizing' May Have To Wait Two More Films



Not only is Alexander Payne back with his first feature film in seven years, "The Descendants," he's once again going to be one of the major players of the awards season. Moreover, he doesn't intend for there be another lengthy gap between pictures. He's already putting the pieces together for his low budget, father/son road trip drama "Nebraska." Granted, his aim to deliver the film to theaters in black-and-white means 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 (Gene Hackman, Robert Forster, Jack Nicholson and Robert Duvall are some of the candidates being tossed around). However, as he begins to navigate the press gauntlet in the run up to "The Descendants," Payne spoke with Thompson On Hollywood and revealed that his long absence from movie screens was due to the "time suck" of his long gestating project "Downsizing" -- something he still hopes to make -- and that he's willing to play ball with the studio and deliver a color cut of "Nebraska," if required, for television.

To rewind a bit, when "Downsizing" was first announced, it was easily -- and still is -- the most ambitious project Payne has ever attempted to tackle. A high-concept social satire, the film was to star Paul Giamatti and Reese Witherspoon as a married couple who are low on money and decide they can have a much nicer life retiring as little people. Witherspoon’s character decides to pull out at the last minute, leaving Giamatti as the sole tiny person in the relationship. But wait, there's more. Sacha Baron Cohen was lined up to play two roles, a pint-sized Spaniard and his normal-sized twin brother and business partner. Financing initially put the project on hold, and then "The Descendants" came along and took priority, but when Payne returns to "Downsizing," he will have learned his lesson from the first time around about how much prep work needs to be done in terms of the digital effects required for the film.

Describing the film as "expensive," Payne says that it's "a large canvas, science-fiction social satire" that he describes as an "epic masterpiece" that he co-wrote with frequent collaborator Jim Taylor. But it will have to wait a bit, as the project likely won't get moving again until after "Nebraska."

"[It's] still going to be a couple years away," Payne said. "I’m so anxious to just shoot movies now, just regular human old films, I want to do about two more [films] before I enter that time suck of pre-visualization and visual effects and all that kind of stuff. I just want to shoot."

And the next movie to get his attention will indeed be "Nebraska." In development by Payne since 2004, the story centers on an aging alcoholic father who thinks he’s won a million dollar Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes prize. He is unbowed when his family tries to dissuade him from making the long trip from Montana to Nebraska to cash in his winnings. So his estranged 20-something son—who doesn’t believe the ticket is a winner—is forced to go along with him for the ride to keep him out of trouble, in an opportunity to bond with his father after years of separation. And while Payne is insistent on delivering his movie in black-and-white, a format which many mainstream audiences shun away from just as they shirk from subtitles, he's not going to pull a Woody Allen (who demanded the aspect ratio and format for "Manhattan" be maintained for all TV showings), but instead remain flexible so the studio can more easily sell it to networks.

Admitting that going monochrome comes with a heavy sacrifice on the budget, he says, "...it’ll be black and white for theatrical, DVD and streaming. If they need a color version for their TV output deals, they will have it."

But Payne is more than aware that in the era of tentpole/toy/comic book/franchise moviemaking, it's getting harder and harder to get dramas made. "I had dinner about a year ago with a venerable older director and his wife. And I told them what sort of film I was making, and they said, ‘You’re so lucky to be making a drama right now.’ Hollywood is not making dramas," Payne states plainly. "It’s a genre which has fallen out of fashion, at least as far as the financiers/studios are considered. So, empirically, I don’t know. I’ll see what comes out this fall to verify if what they say is really true."

So, show your support for mature, adult dramas when "The Descendants" hits theaters on November 18th.

This article is related to: Films, Alexander Payne, Downsizing, Nebraska


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates