XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => The Director's Chair => Topic started by: MacGuffin on July 02, 2003, 08:30:23 AM

Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on July 02, 2003, 08:30:23 AM
Payne Directing Sideways at Fox Searlight
Source: Variety  

Director Alexander Payne will next direct Sideways at Fox Searchlight. The ensemble comedy will begin shooting around the wineries of Santa Ynez in mid-September.

Screenwriter Rex Pickett wrote Sideways as a novel, which will be published next year by St. Martin's Press. Payne wrote the script with Jim Taylor, his writing partner on About Schmidt, Election and Citizen Ruth.

Paul Giamatti and Sandra Oh are attached to star in the film in which the main characters are a writer and a washed-up actor who is about to get married. To salute what remains of their youth, they get lost in wine country on a weeklong vacation. Trouble ensues as the pair come to terms with maturity.

Giamatti will play the writer, Oh, who is married to Payne, will play one of the women orbiting the frolicking duo.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Ernie on July 02, 2003, 11:56:34 AM
Yup, just read it over at AICN this morning...sounds pretty cool. I love About Schmidt and Election, haven't seen Citizen Ruth yet...I've been trying to catch it on TV or something. Payne calls this one "sexy and boozy"...sounds really fun.

Glad to see Paul Giamatti doing something that actually sounds cool cause I really think he's a good actor and a funny guy. I think he'll be perfect for an Alexander Payne movie, he has that depressed loser thing down pat. But yea, finally something Giamatti-related to look forward to...American Splendor looks kinda dumb IMO and then before that it was Big Fat Liar which...well, you know...this is good though.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Gold Trumpet on July 02, 2003, 01:35:06 PM
To think this plot came from an original screenplay makes the project suspicious. More faith is brought in because it is coming from a novel.

I've seen two films by Payne and liked both. Election was an inventive and spirited comedy. About Schmidt was too self reflective, but a very good comedy still and featuring a magnificent performance by Jack Nicholson.


~rougerum
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Spike on July 03, 2003, 07:26:58 AM
Is it true that Alexander Payne previously directed erotic films?
I mean even before "Citizen Ruth". Is that really true?
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Ernie on July 03, 2003, 11:32:07 AM
Quote from: Spike
Is it true that Alexander Payne previously directed erotic films?
I mean even before "Citizen Ruth". Is that really true?


Well, as I said, he does call this one "sexy and boozy"...Sideways that is...but I don't know. That's cool if he did. That's funny if he did cause his style is so laid back and you know, he doesn't have much style. Like, if Scorsese or PTA had done pornos, I wouldn't even flinch...that would make sense to me...doing SLAM cuts and PUSH ins...and focus PULLS...they have very physical styles.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on July 23, 2003, 12:40:10 AM
Church & Madsen Move Sideways with Paul Giamatti
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Thomas Haden Church will star alongside Paul Giamatti in Fox Searchlight's comedy Sideways for director Alexander Payne. Virginia Madsen is also in final talks to come on board as the female lead, with shooting slated to begin in September in California's Santa Ynez Valley.

Based on the upcoming novel by Rex Pickett, the film is about a man (Giamatti) who is about to get married and decides to take a road trip with his best friend (Church) up to vineyard country for one last blowout. During that week, the duo get into trouble with wine and women -- played by Madsen and Sandra Oh -- and come to some profound realizations in their pre-midlife crises.

Payne and Jim Taylor adapted the screenplay.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on December 09, 2003, 09:59:40 AM
Alexander Payne Directing Nebraska
Source: Variety

Alexander Payne (About Schmidt) will next direct Nebraska, an under-$10 million road trip pic he'll shoot in black-and-white and in his home state. Focus Features has first crack at the film that will shoot next fall.

The film is about an aging alcoholic who drafts his son to drive him from Montana to Nebraska so the old man can redeem his winning sweepstakes ticket. The son goes reluctantly, suspecting his dad's winning ticket is the same personalized form letter sent to millions.

Nebraska was written by Bob Nelson.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: SoNowThen on December 09, 2003, 10:10:35 AM
Quote from: MacGuffin
Alexander Payne Directing Nebraska
Source: Variety

Alexander Payne (About Schmidt) will next direct Nebraska, an under-$10 million road trip pic he'll shoot in black-and-white and in his home state. Focus Features has first crack at the film that will shoot next fall.

The film is about an aging alcoholic who drafts his son to drive him from Montana to Nebraska so the old man can redeem his winning sweepstakes ticket. The son goes reluctantly, suspecting his dad's winning ticket is the same personalized form letter sent to millions.

Nebraska was written by Bob Nelson.


That sounds fucking outstanding (and way too close to a story I wanted to write -- oh well...)!
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Slick Shoes on December 11, 2003, 11:48:38 AM
Omaha is to Alexander Payne as The Valley is to Paul Thomas Anderson.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on December 16, 2003, 11:08:26 AM
Moving 'Sideways' to stay on track

(http://images.calendarlive.com/media/photo/2003-12/10631137.jpg)
Alexander Payne, left, and Jim Taylor based their “Sideways” script on an unpublished novel.

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY — A failed 40-year-old writer is spending a week here in the wine country, celebrating his best friend's last days of freedom before he plunges into a marriage that looks doomed before it's started. Just before he walks into a posh tasting room, his agent phones with the news that his novel didn't sell, ensuring that he'll spend the rest of his life grading English papers for pimply middle-school brats.

Will he take the news lying down? Or, as Paul Giamatti did here in a scene from Alexander Payne's new film, "Sideways," will he storm the counter, demand a full glass of wine and, whenthe snippy pourer refuses — "Sir, this is a tasting room, not a bar" — hoist the spit bucket full of discarded Syrah aloft, sending a cascade of wine over his head, shirt and shoes?

After Giamatti leaves to change his stained polo shirt, Payne's producer, Michael London, asks the prop woman a key question — how many polo shirts do they have on hand? Five, she says. "Only five?" London asks, a note of concern in his voice. Before the next take, London quietly tells Payne: "One shirt down. Four more to go."

As Payne watches Giamatti prepare for another take, he is biting his nails. "This is as tense as you'll see Alexander get," says London. "For this film, this is a big stunt. It's our version of blowing up a building in a Joel Silver movie."

Due out next fall from Fox Searchlight, "Sideways" is a quirky road film featuring indie star Giamatti ("American Splendor") and little-known Thomas Haden Church as two losers whose sojourn in the wine country results in a string of comic misadventures. But the $18-million picture, which finishes shooting this week, represents something bigger — a declaration of creative independence. "Sideways" symbolizes a quiet rebellion against the no-risk corporate film financing that has turned so many of today's Hollywood films into forgettable comic-book fantasies or dreary visual-effects adventures.

"My complaint about American films is that we don't make American films anymore. We make cartoons that are so easily digestible that they can be transported anywhere in the world," says Payne, whose "About Schmidt" earned critical accolades last year.

"We need more films, like '21 Grams' or 'Mystic River' or 'The House of Sand and Fog,' that reflect our society, that try to portray real people."

Payne, who also directed 1996's "Citizen Ruth" and 1999's "Election," is viewed as one of Hollywood's most distinctive filmmakers. But even though a host of studios was eager to make Payne's next movie, the 42-year-old director wanted to retain creative control of the project, not an easy proposition for someone who is a magnet for awards but whose films have shown little profit.

Payne turned to London, who had sent him "Sideways," an unpublished novel by Rex Pickett that Payne and his writing partner, Jim Taylor, optioned and used as the basis for their script.

A former Los Angeles Times journalist and studio executive, London also had grown frustrated by the messy studio development process. He wasn't alone. In recent years, a growing number of independent producers have discovered that if they want creative independence, they must take the financial risks to get it.

Protecting the project

In Hollywood, the studio traditionally foots the bill for optioning a book or developing a script. In return, unless you're the rare filmmaker with final-cut clout, the studio controls the creative process, which is why so many books are homogenized, given happy endings and cast with $20-million movie stars when they are adapted into films.

For years, tiny art-house movies have been made with cobbled-together financing, then sold at film festivals. But those movies often have trouble getting widespread distribution. Payne is part of a generation of filmmakers eager to have it both ways; they want the benefits of studio marketing and distribution without having their films stripped of their originality by the studio development process.

"If you go through the sweat equity of optioning the book, casting the film, finding the locations and budgeting the movie, you're entitled to more autonomy," says London, who produced the low-budget teen drama "Thirteen" earlier this year. "It's really important to protect projects from the big machinery until the last possible moment, because the more people involved in the decision making process, the more compromises you have to make."

London used a similar model helping filmmaker Vadim Perelman assemble "The House of Sand and Fog," a likely Oscar contender that opens Friday. Perelman was an obscure commercial director when he put up his own money to option Andre Dubus' bestseller. He co-wrote the script and attracted a cast that includes Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly before going to financiers. (The movie now is co-financed and distributed by DreamWorks.) London explains: "Because Vadim owned the material, he could say, 'Even though I'm a first-time director and this is a dark, tragic film, if you don't want to make it my way, don't get involved.' "

On "Sideways," Payne and London put up their own money to option Pickett's book, adapt the script and finance pre-production. They also cast the film before taking it to studios. Even though studio heads would've been far more enthusiastic to cast such stars as Nicolas Cage, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Edward Norton and John Cusack, all of whom either met with Payne or expressed interest, the director instead went with Giamatti and Haden Church.

"I didn't want to play the list game," Payne explains. "They always want you to hire the most famous possible actor as an insurance policy. But to me, casting is the director's most direct influence on a film. And if you're a prisoner of the capitalist forces of the moment — meaning that of the 5 billion possible people in the world, you're only allowed to choose from 30 familiar faces — then it's not really your film. My last film had Jack Nicholson and he was great. But for this film, I wanted the actors who'd bring the most comedy and pathos to the parts."

Of the four studios offered the project, one wanted an option on Payne's next film, one didn't believe in his cast and one had problems marketing niche movies. But Fox Searchlight embraced the entire package and had a history of deftly marketing challenging movies. Payne had no complaints with Searchlight's modest $18-million budget ceiling. "In some ways, more money almost automatically means the movie is going to be less good, because it encourages people to take fewer risks," he says. "When you have a lot of movie stars around, the pressure builds and a lot of the hard edges in your film somehow get softened."

Things turn out better

Payne isn't the only filmmaker to discover money doesn't buy happiness. His old UCLA film school classmate, Gary Winick, is a cofounder of InDigEnt Films, a digital video filmmaker's collective that has produced a number of acclaimed movies, including "Pieces of April," "Personal Velocity" and "Tadpole," which Winick directed. None of the films cost more than $300,000. "The less money you spend, the more control you have," he says. "If you put your money on the line, then you're forced to prove to people, and maybe to yourself, that you're passionate enough to make your movie."

Peter Hedges, who made "Pieces of April," originally had a go-ahead to make the film for $6 million at United Artists. When the studio pulled the plug a month before shooting was scheduled to begin, Winick told him InDigEnt would make the film — as long as he shot it in digital video so it could be made for $300,000.

"He did it in 17 days instead of 40 days, but Peter feels he didn't sacrifice anything," says Winick. "When you're forced to do something with less money, you're forced to use your imagination and things usually turn out even better."

Watching Payne on the set of "Sideways," it's easy to see that his creative method might not fit neatly into a studio mold. He doesn't use a video monitor, preferring to stay as close to his actors as possible. He doesn't watch dailies, saying he'd rather see the film with fresh eyes after shooting is completed. He barely allows his hair and makeup technicians near the actors. "Seeing perfect hair and not having lint around bugs me," he says. "I want a certain naturalism, which you can't get with all that beautification."

In short, he seems determined to retain his outsider sensibility. "I admire directors who didn't burn out with age, but who kept getting better, whether it's Buñuel or Kurosawa or John Huston," he says. "And I think a big part of that was that they never lost their anger, because anger is what really fuels you." Payne looks more resolute than angry, but the point is well made — selling out is not an option. Succeed or fail, he's determined to do it his way.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: SHAFTR on February 05, 2004, 03:51:54 AM
so I just revisited Election and I have to say it seems almost like it's the lost Wes Anderson film.  Anyone else get this feeling?
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on February 05, 2004, 11:02:02 AM
Quote from: SHAFTR
so I just revisited Election and I have to say it seems almost like it's the lost Wes Anderson film.  Anyone else get this feeling?

yeah but darker.

I hate Thomas Haden Church.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: grand theft sparrow on February 05, 2004, 12:50:45 PM
Quote from: SHAFTR
so I just revisited Election and I have to say it seems almost like it's the lost Wes Anderson film.  Anyone else get this feeling?


To a degree but I think that the motivations of the characters in Election are considerably more focused and more mean-spirited than the motivations of the characters in Wes' movies.  

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.  I loved Election but you'd feel compelled to keep your back to a wall at all times in the presence of the characters in Election.  This might just be me but I think that Wes Anderson characters may do bad things but they do them simply because they have no idea what else will work.  

Take Dignan from Bottle Rocket, Max from Rushmore, and Royal from Royal Tenenbaums.  They lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want.  But it's what they want that makes them endearing.  Most of everyone in Election has some sort of self-serving ulterior motive that makes you want to keep them at a distance. But again, I say that there's nothing wrong with that.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: SHAFTR on February 05, 2004, 12:53:46 PM
Quote from: hacksparrow
Quote from: SHAFTR
so I just revisited Election and I have to say it seems almost like it's the lost Wes Anderson film.  Anyone else get this feeling?


To a degree but I think that the motivations of the characters in Election are considerably more focused and more mean-spirited than the motivations of the characters in Wes' movies.  

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.  I loved Election but you'd feel compelled to keep your back to a wall at all times in the presence of the characters in Election.  This might just be me but I think that Wes Anderson characters may do bad things but they do them simply because they have no idea what else will work.  

Take Dignan from Bottle Rocket, Max from Rushmore, and Royal from Royal Tenenbaums.  They lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want.  But it's what they want that makes them endearing.  Most of everyone in Election has some sort of self-serving ulterior motive that makes you want to keep them at a distance. But again, I say that there's nothing wrong with that.


I agree with your point.  Part of what I was saying dealt with the style of the film.  The characters are different but the type of humor, or the presentation of humor, is similiar.  The jokes are there but not necessarily to laugh at.  The films make it a point not to telegraph a joke but to let it stand in the story for the viewer to find.  Also, sides are never taken in either of the films.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: grand theft sparrow on February 05, 2004, 01:10:05 PM
Quote from: SHAFTR
The characters are different but the type of humor, or the presentation of humor, is similiar.  The jokes are there but not necessarily to laugh at.  The films make it a point not to telegraph a joke but to let it stand in the story for the viewer to find.


Definitely. And God bless 'em for it.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Slick Shoes on March 15, 2004, 04:39:04 PM
I re-visited Election last night. Boy, this film is funny. I think it is Payne's best. This was actually the first commentary track I ever listened too, and few have been able to stack up since. The choice of music in this film is superb. A great mix of actors and non-actors. Great, great dialogue. I think it is one of my favorite films.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on August 13, 2004, 06:26:55 PM
Mark your calendars.  According to the new Premiere, Sideways will be released October 20th.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Just Withnail on August 14, 2004, 11:35:28 AM
Quote from: bonanzataz
mark this...
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on August 14, 2004, 12:05:06 PM
TRAILER: http://progressive.stream.aol.com/aol/us/moviefone/movies/2004/sideways_019618/sideways_trlr_dl.mov
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on August 14, 2004, 12:05:57 PM
Why not just start a thread in The Grapevine?
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on August 14, 2004, 12:08:24 PM
i have a thread starting phobia.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: pete on October 02, 2004, 07:18:41 PM
Declaration  of Independents

By  Alexander Payne

At a  meeting of non-aligned nations during the Cold War, Fidel Castro  made the dry observation, "In reality there are only two non-aligned nations: the United States and the Soviet Union." I  often recall that quote when asked about American independent  cinema, for I think on one level the only true independents are  Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., Universal and the rest of the major  studios. Say what you want about their imprisonment by corporate  edicts and market forces; only they can make whatever they choose,  and only they enjoy assured distribution.


Of course, "independent  cinema" has come to mean so many things. Endless conferences  and publications attempting to get a handle on American independent  cinema -- what it is, whether it exists, whether it's dying or  thriving -- dance around what for me is the central issue: that the  source of the financing is unimportant. Cinema is independent only  to the degree that it reflects the voice of one person, the director  (in conjunction with his or her hand-picked creative team). Martin Scorsese now makes studio films that cost $100 million, and no one  questions his independent credentials. And at Sundance we see  low-budget features whose only message is "Hire me."

I want two simple things of our cinema  -- that it be comprised of a large percentage of films that  reverberate the voices and hearts of the filmmakers, for that is how  film is always at its best. Second, I want a cinema that is  intelligent, uplifting and human, and that serves -- as good art  should -- as a mirror, not as an impossible or fraudulent  consumer-oriented projection. After all, what good is a story that  does not somehow add another piece to the infinite jigsaw puzzle  that is human experience? What good is a story that does not somehow  connect people?

As a working American director -- a  Hollywood director, no less -- I resent the cleft between what we  consider studio movies and independent movies. I want and expect  studios to finance personal, risky and political cinema -- as they  did in the much-vaunted 1970s -- and I am overjoyed because I no longer think this a naive dream. I think it's starting to happen right now.

For some 25 years we've had American  movies but not movies about Americans. For 25 years we've largely  been making not films but rather glorified cartoons which can be as easily digested in Omaha as on a bus in Thailand; films whose  principal message is, We need your money to keep our stock price up;  films that exploit banality and violence as come-ons to the lowest  angels of our nature; films based on formula so they can be consumed  as readily and predictably as McDonald's hamburgers. We've turned  away from the need and utility of art in favor of impersonal product  to maximize profits and at the tremendous, tragic expense of our  culture. There have been many wonderful exceptions, but I speak of trends.

But look at this great year for movies!  We have "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,"  "Maria Full of Grace," "Before Sunset,"  "Fahrenheit 9/11" and the rest of the documentaries in  theaters, "Spider-Man 2," "Shrek 2," Tarantino,  Alfonso Cuaron doing "Harry Potter." This fall we have  David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, Mike Nichols, Steven Soderbergh,  Brad Bird's "The Incredibles," Brad Silberling's "Lemony Snicket." Fold in the American distribution of Almodovar, Walter Salles, Zhang Yimou, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. If  they don't all turn out to be great films, at least we can discern a  strong trend of cinema -- big and commercial as well as small and  personal -- aspiring to be human, intelligent, respectful of the  audience and director-driven. More big commercial films are being  entrusted to stong and thoughtful directors, and more studios are  planning their own versions of Fox Searchlight and Focus.

Why now? I see two obvious reasons --  the same that we saw decades ago. First, when the beast is dying, it  seeks new blood. Maybe we can't point directly to a "Paint Your  Wagon," but when studios offer up increasing numbers of  big-budget dirigibles that tank, they look for solutions outside  traditional decision-making boxes. And maybe we can't yet point to  an "Easy Rider" or a "Midnight Cowboy" as a  watershed film, but when "Fahrenheit 9/11" makes whatever  it's going to make, or when "Lost in Translation" costs $4  million and makes almost $50 million, well, there are signs that,  given creative control, directors -- many of them newer and younger  -- might be in the best position to serve the contemporary audience.

Second, of course, the world is going to  hell these days. As the saying goes, when small men cast long  shadows, the sun is going down. Most likely things are going to get  worse before they improve. When confused and troubled, people look  to art in general and cinema in particular for context, for clues  about who we are and where we've come from and where we might be  going. Whether Bush and his corrupt gang are reelected or not -- and  especially if they are -- these times ensure increased demand for  films with human and political content.

Art is all we have to combat the  fearsome, awful animal side of man that today controls events. To  portray real people with real problems, real joys, real tears will  serve as a positive political force, a force for comfort and  possibly for change. With the inhumanity forced upon us by  governments and terrorists and corporations, to make a purely human  film is today a political act. To make a film about disenfranchised people is a political act. To make a film about love is a political  act. To make a film about a single human emotion is today a  political act. And bad things happen when good people fail to speak  up.

Intelligence and humanity should not be  "specialty" items. Imagination, artistry and risk-taking  are as essential to big-budget commercial films as they are for the  emerging filmmaker. Our studios may now wish to invest in a greater number of less expensive films and enjoy the profits of volume  rather than always starving the small and medium films in order to  feed the increasingly mercurial "tentpole" beast. And we  filmmakers must be disciplined and keep our costs as low as possible  in order to deserve the risks that define our finest filmmaking  nature.

We have the potential for a new era  where studios and filmmakers come together as they have not in a  generation, and we have the chance to define a new age in a new  century. I hope years from now my optimism will have been warranted, for I know that if our studios identify the signs and act, they have  today the exceptional opportunity not merely to co-op "independent" filmmakers but to assume themselves the mantle of true "independents."
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Ghostboy on October 02, 2004, 07:46:34 PM
Wow, what's that from?
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: pete on October 02, 2004, 07:48:48 PM
an editorial from variety.  that's so good faith he's got in the studio system huh?
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Ghostboy on October 02, 2004, 07:54:22 PM
It certainly is, but I don't think it's unwarranted. Every time I shudder at some of the crap being produced by the studios, I also find myself enternally grateful that this business, which could sustain itself almost solely on teen comedies, explosions and heartwarming sentiment still understands, at least some of the time, that film is art and that artists are required to make the best of it. That the suits somehow still understand this gives me a lot of hope, too.

And this paragraph is just beautiful:

Quote from: Alexander Payne


Art is all we have to combat the  fearsome, awful animal side of man that today controls events. To  portray real people with real problems, real joys, real tears will  serve as a positive political force, a force for comfort and  possibly for change. With the inhumanity forced upon us by  governments and terrorists and corporations, to make a purely human  film is today a political act. To make a film about disenfranchised people is a political act. To make a film about love is a political  act. To make a film about a single human emotion is today a  political act. And bad things happen when good people fail to speak  up.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Slick Shoes on October 27, 2004, 07:49:17 PM
Q: You’re part of this generation of filmmakers that everyone wants to work with like PT Anderson, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and David O. Russell. Are you aware of that?

Alexander Payne: That started in 1999 when Election, Being John Malkovich, Three Kings, Rushmore and Magnolia came out. I’m really good friends with David Russell. Spike and I know each other but not very well. I met Paul Thomas Anderson once and he’s not a team player though he’s a perfectly nice guy. We met at Cannes but he sticks to himself. Spike and Sofia [Coppola] were always very nice and friendly.

Full interview here: http://suicidegirls.com/words/Alexander+Payne/
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Sleuth on November 11, 2004, 11:56:27 AM
O: What do you like to emphasize? What do you feel needs to be captured about the region?

AP: Well, again, not just about my films, but in general, I think the complexity. I think about what I want to shoot in Nebraska again, and one thing that most comes to mind is to make a film about Mexicans. The Midwest is crawling with Mexicans now.

more here

http://www.theonionavclub.com/feature/index.php?issue=4045
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on November 27, 2004, 08:50:16 PM
From Entertainment Weekly - Buried Treasure issue:

Alexander Payne
His student film, The Passion of Martin

Alexander Payne, director of this fall's acclaimed Sideways, has always resisted the notion that he makes dark comedies. "When people say 'dark,' what they really mean is 'real,'" he insists. But 14 years ago, as a UCLA film school student, Payne cut his directorial teeth with a comedy he acknowledges is "genuinely dark": a 50-minute thesis film about a depressive photographer named Martin (Charles Hayward) who becomes psychotically obsessed with a beautiful young woman (Lisa Zane). While the film, loosely based on an Argentinean novel called The Tunnel, couldn't have been much bleaker -- it ends with Martin putting his beloved in a coma -- it got Payne's career off to a bright start. Within six weeks of its first screening at UCLA, he had an agent and a writing-directing deal at Universal. Payne got some inquiries about remaking Martin as a full-length feature but wasn't interested: "Why would I want to make the same movie twice?" he asks. Still, while it has been seen by relatively few people at film festivals, Payne retains a special passion for Martin: "It was one of those dream scenarios film students hope for. It was quite a ride."
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: 82 on December 13, 2004, 12:30:21 AM
http://www.unomaha.edu/news/releases/2004/12/09_payne_a.php

I will be attending.. If there is a Q&A session.. are there any questions any of you would like answered?
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: ono on December 13, 2004, 12:35:46 AM
Try to get some specifics about his next film.  (Nebraska or not?)  Can we hope for it by the end of 2005, or are we looking at 2006?  I've heard comparisons to, what was it, Nashville?  La Dolce Vita?  Which is it?  Whatever info you can would be great.

He's really hit on something with Sideways.  The humor is strong, but with each film his characters are becoming more human.  Hopefully his next film will follow in that vein.

This page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390295/board/nest/13693538 says he won't be doing Nebraska next.  So find out what project he is thinking about doing.  Since this one has turned him off, 2005 is looking less and less likely, if that source is accurate.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on December 19, 2004, 03:16:34 PM
'Sideways' Director Gets Hometown Honor

(http://us.movies1.yimg.com/entertainment.yahoo.com/images/ent/ap/20041219/ah101_payne_nebraska.sff.jpg)

"Sideways" film director Alexander Payne received an honorary degree in humane letters from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Payne, 43, who was born and raised in Omaha, was presented with the honorary degree at winter graduation ceremonies Friday. The university hosted a film festival honoring Payne's work last week.

"Sideways" received a leading seven Golden Globe nominations, including best comedy or musical film, best director for Payne and best screenplay for Payne and Jim Taylor.

Payne's feature film debut was "Citizen Ruth" in 1996, a satire about the abortion rights war. Payne also directed "Election" in 1999 and "About Schmidt" in 2002. All three movies were filmed in Nebraska.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: ono on January 19, 2005, 09:55:19 PM
You forgot these:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104512/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238304/

I mean, I don't know about anyone else, but I want to check these out ASAP.  I truly hope Payne returns to his original form one of these days.  Sideways was a step in the right direction.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Slick Shoes on January 23, 2005, 03:05:23 PM
Last night I went to a screening of a film called The Breaking Point directed by Michael Curtiz. It was part of a series where Curtis Hanson invites people he admires to pick a film that influenced them and get up and talk about it afterwards. This time it was Alexander Payne. He also picked a cartoon called What's Brewin' Bruin? I was going to ask him a question about the film Inside Out but I wasn't called on. I knew he was influenced by 70s films and Italian cinema of the 60s so it was cool hearing him talk about classic Hollywood films and why he likes them so much. He said he likes the sturdy craftsmanship of the old studio pros like Curtiz and Raoul Walsh and admires the economy with which they tell a story.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Bethie on February 10, 2005, 04:44:07 AM
Payne's 44th Birthday is today.

Me to Cine a little while ago:

Me: hey! today (thursday) is alexander payne's birthday!
Cine: ohh!
Cine: tell him i said "i went sideways when i found out it was your birthday! have a good one!"
Me: "hope your birthday is all About.... "
Me: open up the card
Me: "YOU!!"
Cine: "an election was made... and its been decided: its YOUR birthday!"
Me: "ALL citizens would love to wish you a happy birthday!!"
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on February 21, 2005, 02:51:58 PM
lenghty interview here with Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor from the MOMA event recently: http://www.aintitcoolnews.com/display.cgi?id=19467
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: rustinglass on February 24, 2005, 11:49:10 AM
ALEXANDER PAYNE, PRESIDENT OF THE JURY FOR UN CERTAIN REGARD

 
 Press release 24th February 2005

Alexander Payne will be the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury, an official selection of the Festival de Cannes, from May 11th to 22nd.
An American filmmaker, Alexander Payne directed Citizen Ruth, his first feature, in 1996. In 2002, About Schmidt, the lead played by Nicholson, was selected at Cannes then nominated for an Oscar before being awarded the Golden Globe for best screenplay. He received the same award again in 2005 for his latest film, Sideways, which has been a great popular and critical success. Sideways has been nominated for five of the Oscars which will be awarded on February 27th of this year: best film, best director, best actress and best actor in a supporting role and best adapted screenplay.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Myxo on March 12, 2005, 05:13:27 PM
'Sideways' Director, Actress-Wife Split

NEW YORK - Director Alexander Payne and wife Sandra Oh have gone from "Sideways" to parting ways, a spokeswoman told People magazine on Saturday. The Hollywood couple "have mutually decided to separate," the spokeswoman said. "They will remain friends."

The couple met five years ago and married in 2003.

Payne wrote and directed "Sideways," the comedy about two friends on a wine-tasting road trip through California.

The film was nominated for five Oscars (news - web sites), and he shared the Academy Award with his writing partner for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Oh, a former co-star on the HBO series "Arli$$," was one of the stars of the film.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pubrick on March 13, 2005, 03:05:26 AM
Quote from: flagpolespecial
wow. that would be pretty devasting i think.

sure, but not devastating.

cos on the scale of relationship breakups, a mutual separation is probably the least devastating way to go.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Garam on August 26, 2005, 03:39:31 AM
I love Payne and his movies and i can't wait for Nebraska. He really has a knack for making films with very-flawed protagonists.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: ono on August 26, 2005, 03:42:39 AM
It's amazing what clicking that "Previous" link and scrolling down can do for you.  Allow me... http://www.xixax.com/viewtopic.php?p=167766#167766

Then again, IMDb lies, and I've heard I do, too.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: Garam on August 26, 2005, 03:44:48 AM
Either way, he's still making it, and i still can't wait.
Title: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on August 26, 2005, 03:46:34 AM
liar...
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on November 11, 2005, 12:31:16 PM
SIDEWAYS Pair Rolls to Searchlight
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor team up with Jim Burke to for Ad Hominem Enterprises, which will now be set up at Fox Searchlight.
Source: FilmStew.com

The Oscar-winning writing team behind Sideways, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, have stepped into the Searchlight. According to Daily Variety, Payne and Taylor, who also collaborated on Oscar-nominated films such as About Schmidt and Election, have signed a three-year, first-look production deal with Fox Searchlight, the specialty arm of 20th Century Fox. In the process of the deal, Payne and Taylor will partner up with Jim Burke to form the production shingle Ad Hominem Enterprises.

In a statement released by the filmmakers, Payne said, "Since we typically write our screenplays in Latin, then translate them into English, the name seemed like a natural fit." The statement joked, "The moniker for the Santa Monica-based company, taken literally from the Latin 'to the man' and meaning in rhetoric 'to appeal to the feelings rather than the intellect,' is meant to be pretentious."

Searchlight released Sideways, co-written by Payne and Taylor and directed by Payne, in 2004. The film earned the pair the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, while also earning Payne a nod as Best Director.

"Alexander and Jim are unique, special talents with a proven track record. We're thrilled to see what corner of humanity they'll choose to illuminate next...as long as they keep the budget low," noted Searchlight President Peter Rice.

Burke, who served as a co-producer on Election, has producing credits that include Kingpin, The Breed and Walking Tall, among others.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on November 11, 2005, 01:26:18 PM
"Alexander and Jim are unique, special talents with a proven track record. We're thrilled to see what corner of humanity they'll choose to illuminate next...as long as they keep the budget low," noted Searchlight President Peter Rice.
i can't believe he said that.   :doh:
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: polkablues on November 11, 2005, 04:16:50 PM
"Alexander and Jim are unique, special talents with a proven track record. We're thrilled to see what corner of humanity they'll choose to illuminate next...as long as they keep the budget low," noted Searchlight President Peter Rice.
i can't believe he said that.   :doh:

I'm sure he said it with a little laugh, to make it seem like a good-natured ribbing, but then followed it with a sharp glance over at Alexander and Jim to make sure they got the message.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: ono on November 11, 2005, 07:42:32 PM
Be reasonable.  :elitist:
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on May 08, 2008, 11:11:43 PM
Alexander Payne makes TV debut with 'Hung'
HBO comedy project first picked up by Naegle
Source: Hollywood Reporter

Oscar winner Alexander Payne is set to make his TV debut with HBO's comedic project "Hung."

Payne is set to direct the potential pilot, penned by "The Riches" creator Dmitry Lipkin and his wife/writing partner, Colette Burson.

"Hung" centers on an average middle-aged basketball coach who excels in one (private) area and figures out a way to put his endowment to use.

"Hung" marks the first project picked up by HBO's new entertainment president Sue Naegle.

Although it hasn't been officially greenlighted to pilot, "Hung" was put on the fast track, and the signing of Payne solidifies a formal production order.

Payne also will serve as an exec producer on the pilot along with Lipkin, Burson and Blueprint Entertainment's Michael Rosenberg, John Morayniss and Noreen Halpern.

A search will begin shortly for an actor to play the lead.

Payne, who won an Oscar in 2005 for writing "Sideways," is repped by WMA and attorney John Diemer.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on March 02, 2009, 05:59:09 PM
Alexander Payne is 'Downsizing'
Giamatti, Baron Cohen, Witherspoon to star
Source: Variety

Alexander Payne is putting the finishing touches on the social satire “Downsizing,” a script about small people, and has put together a big-name cast.

Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon have all committed to star in the film, which would likely land at Fox Searchlight, where Payne has a first-look deal.

Giamatti, who previously teamed with the director on “Sideways,” is on board to star as a man low on money who decides he can have a much nicer life if he undergoes a process to shrink himself.

Witherspoon, also a Payne alum, whose career took off after starring in “Election,” would play a woman Giamatti meets on his journey as a small person. Cohen would play a pint-sized foreigner.

There are no deals in place for the three principals, and no negotiations will take place until Payne finishes his screenplay, which he is penning with Jim Taylor. Jim Burke is producing alongside Payne.

Unlike previous Payne pics, “Downsizing” would require considerable special effects and could push the budget out of Searchlight’s realm.

Project marks Payne’s first pic since “Sideways,” which was a Searchlight pic.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pozer on March 02, 2009, 07:02:17 PM
MacGuffin, understandably so that it is a work overload monday for ye, but this laundry needs to be put right here. (http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=8860.0)
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: john on March 02, 2009, 08:48:08 PM
Speaking of Payne...

Any Northern California residents that want to take a pleasant drive to sleepy Monterey sometime might want to consider doing so on March 22nd, at 2:00 PM because that when Alexander Payne will be at the Golden State Film Festival screening Citizen Ruth (!) and doing a Q & A.

http://www.goldenstatetheatre.com/filmfestival/schedule/sch_guests.html#Anchor-49575B

Afterward, you can get drunk and reenact scenes from East of Eden out in a field somewhere.

Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on August 11, 2009, 03:14:24 AM
Alexander Payne raises 'Descendants'
Fox Searchlight to produce new family dramedy
Source: Variety

Alexander Payne and Fox Searchlight are reteaming on family dramedy "The Descendants," Payne's first feature since "Sideways."

Payne begins lensing in Hawaii at the end of the year or early 2010. Project isn't yet cast.

Filmmaker is in the midst of polishing Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's script, adapted from Kaui Hart Hemmings' debut novel of the same name.

Set in Hawaii, "Descendants" tells the story of a wealthy landowner who takes his two daughters on a search for his wife's lover in the hopes of keeping his family together.

Payne, Jim Burke and Jim Taylor are producing through their shingle Ad Hominem.

After waiting nearly five years to direct his next feature, Payne has two projects ramping up: "Descendants" and "Downsizing."

Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon have all committed to starring in "Downsizing," a social satire in which Giamatti's character realizes he would have a better life if he shrank himself.

Payne opted to shoot "Descendants" first in order to give "Downsizing," a larger production, more prep time.

While Payne hasn't shot a feature, he's served as exec producer on HBO skein "Hung."
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on November 02, 2009, 11:49:32 PM
Clooney in talks for 'Descendants'
Payne directing family dramedy for Fox
Source: Variety

George Clooney is circling the lead in the Alexander Payne-helmed family dramedy "The Descendants" for Fox Searchlight.

The actor, who is currently shooting Anton Corbijn-directed thriller "The American," is in talks to topline "Descendants," which centers on a wealthy landowner who takes his two daughters on a search for his wife's lover in the hopes of keeping his family together.

Project, which marks Payne's first feature in five years, is scheduled to begin lensing in February in Hawaii. "Descendants" would rep the first collaboration between Clooney and Payne.

Screenplay, which is based on Kaui Hart Hemmings' debut novel of the same name, was penned by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

Payne, Jim Burke and Jim Taylor are producing through their shingle Ad Hominem.

Clooney, who last starred in "Burn After Reading," has three films set for release in the coming weeks: "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Men Who Stare at Goats" and "Up in the Air."
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Stefen on November 03, 2009, 02:31:53 AM
Clooney is the man. He continues to work with great filmmakers.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: modage on November 03, 2009, 09:36:35 AM
Seriously, he's like the Brad Pitt of our times.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Fernando on November 03, 2009, 11:18:07 AM
yeah, both clooney and pitt are on a fucking roll, this is what tom cruise should be doing, the guy used to pick great interesting roles and worked with great directors, I miss that cruise.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Alexandro on November 03, 2009, 12:45:52 PM
cruise is too busy planning his shitty comeback in shitty films. he clearly enjoys more being popular than recognized as an actor. I used to think otherwise, but that's the only reason I can think of for his obsession with controlling every movie he is in nowadays.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on March 15, 2010, 05:58:54 PM
Payne's 'Descendants' adds to cast
Greer, Bridges, Lillard, Forster join pic
Source: Variety

Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard and Robert Forster have joined the cast of Fox Searchlight's George Clooney topliner "The Descendants," which Alexander Payne begins lensing this week in Hawaii.

Based on Kaui Hart Hemmings' critically acclaimed debut novel, adapted screenplay was penned by Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and Payne. Story revolves around an indifferent husband and father of two girls who is forced to confront his past when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki beach, and decide whether to sell his family's land, handed down from Hawaiian royalty.

Producers are Ad Hominem's Payne, Jim Burke and Jim Taylor.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pubrick on March 16, 2010, 12:56:05 AM
apart from cloon-dog, everyone in that cast reeks of desperation. matthew lillard, beau bridges, robert foster..! maybe judy greer can get away with it.. barely. alexander payne better hav a good script on his hands cos there's nothing at all in that cast or story that makes this interesting, then again everything this guy's done has been a bit overrated especially About Schmidt which could be the most forgettable film ever made.

he's like a less maligned David O Russell, he's only ever made one good movie, the rest hav just tried very very hard.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on March 16, 2010, 02:38:37 AM
no way man, he's the modern day Ashby. No does melancholy better imo...
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: polkablues on March 16, 2010, 03:35:10 AM
He's a master of middle-class Midwestern malaise.  But p's right about About Schmidt; it's basically a movie that you've already forgotten seeing halfway through seeing it.

And as much as I enjoyed Sideways, my experience of the film itself is totally canceled out by my utter hatred of all the douchebag trend-hoppers who started thinking they gave a shit about wine after they saw it.  If you can't define what a tannin is, you're not allowed to use the word when describing the glass of wine you're drinking.  And I don't care what the funny man in the movie said, if you like merlot, you can drink fucking merlot!
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Stefen on March 16, 2010, 03:47:29 AM
Election is funny as fuck.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on March 16, 2010, 03:49:00 AM
and Citizen Ruth is a 90's gem
but i admit, Schmidt is way over rated
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: matt35mm on March 16, 2010, 03:55:49 AM
 :(  I love About Schmidt.  It's one of my favorites.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: children with angels on March 16, 2010, 03:59:06 AM
Schmidt is a film I thought I wasn't particularly into whilst first watching it, until the final moments, which are really something special. Returning to it recently having not seen it for years, I found I was quietly impressed by the whole thing. If there are real problems with it they're tonal, and that's something that can iron itself out on repeat viewings because you're not so surprised by the shifts.

Also, I think the most perfect thing Payne has made is the final segment of Paris Je T'aime.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Gold Trumpet on March 16, 2010, 04:35:16 AM
About Schmidt is deadpan comedy, but my problem has always been that Payne insists in the comedy carrying over in obvious ways because the tone, composition and everything else just exasperates the good performance Jack Nicholson gives. You notice the intention of the scene's comedy before noticing the comedy itself. I think if the film found more gears and ways to tell the story I would have liked it better, but the over pronouncement of the theme is just too much for me. Sideways is much more restrained and even handed, but it also has a story that facilitates more story and levels of facetious human despair.

Election is still a funny comedy, but it's like Rushmore and more funny in terms of generality. Never saw Citizen Ruth.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: matt35mm on March 16, 2010, 04:45:46 AM
Schmidt is a film I thought I wasn't particularly into whilst first watching it, until the final moments, which are really something special. Returning to it recently having not seen it for years, I found I was quietly impressed by the whole thing. If there are real problems with it they're tonal, and that's something that can iron itself out on repeat viewings because you're not so surprised by the shifts.

It has indeed become one of my favorites through repeated viewings.  I don't recall ever feeling like there were any problems with the tone.  It mixes tones, which is perfectly fine.  I don't know if we're talking about the same thing, but the slower, somewhat ridiculous meditative moments when we're alone with Warren Schmidt mirrors how he sees himself and I think it's represented well through the tone.  That tone is of course interrupted by outside events, and that the film should shift into a broader comedic tone feels uncomfortable but appropriate.

I liked it right away, largely because Warren Schmidt is a lot like my dad and it's scary and hilarious how well Nicholson nailed that.  It also spoke to my fear that I'll fuck everything up between now and age 70 and end up as pathetic and alone as Warren.  That's how I initially responded to the film, but subsequent viewings have been rich with discovery regarding the way that Warren understands the world and absorbs what is happening around him.  Everything that he does, from plot-moving decisions to subtle interactions with his environment, really strike me as something that's silly and honest (definitely not mutually exclusive things to be).  I relate to him probably more than I should care to admit, in sort of the way that I see myself in my father sometimes, really in all the ways that I'm trying to run away from, because I don't want to be like my dad or Warren in most ways.

Anyway, a lot of what draws me into it is quite personal, and the film has so many moments that evoke thoughts of my deepest fears.  When I think about them and then re-watch the film, I see that those things are THERE in the film; I'm not just making them up in my head.  So it's one of my favorites and one that I will re-watch from time to time for the rest of my life, I think.  I also think it's really hilarious.

About Schmidt is deadpan comedy, but my problem has always been that Payne insists in the comedy carrying over in obvious ways because the tone, composition and everything else just exasperates the good performance Jack Nicholson gives.

I feel like the tone, composition, and everything else mirrors Warren Schmidt's view of himself and thus supports his performance.  At times it draws you in, but at other times it distances us from Warren, all in ways that I thought helped me to get a fuller view of this man.  Watching the film allows me the opportunity to relate to the guy, feel sorry for him, feel like him, laugh at him, etc.  Nicholson's performance supports all of that.  I confess that when I think about the film, I am mostly interested in this character, and not particularly concerned with the storytelling.  Whether the tone and composition and music and pacing is great for the story, I don't know--I feel like it's at least adequate--but it works very well for me in terms of circling this character and really taking a look at him.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: squints on March 17, 2010, 01:26:28 AM
Also, I think the most perfect thing Payne has made is the final segment of Paris Je T'aime.

absolutely agree with this.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Alexandro on March 17, 2010, 01:45:04 AM
Election is brilliant: it works as political satire and as a high school comedy. Witherspoon will apparently never be this funny or perfect for any role. This is a role and performance that suggested a kind of Johnny Depp inclination in her. She hasn't followed that inclination.

Schmidt at first wasn't very impressive to me. It wasn't too funny or misanthropic as Election, but then it wasn't effective as a drama either. This was my initial reaction. Years later I saw it again and was blown away by it, halfway through I started crying. I have seen it a couple more times and it always gets better.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: The Perineum Falcon on March 17, 2010, 08:13:31 AM
Also, I think the most perfect thing Payne has made is the final segment of Paris Je T'aime.

absolutely agree with this.
Me too. The 14th was where I stayed for 5 weeks, and I always tear up just a little when she's sitting on THAT bench in THAT park and describing EXACTLY what i felt 5 years ago....

:cry: oh jeez....
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on November 18, 2010, 11:09:29 PM
'Wilson' Lands At Fox Searchlight With Alexander Payne
By MIKE FLEMING; Deadline Hollywood
 
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has made a deal for Wilson, a Dan Clowes-created graphic novel that the author will adapt as a potential directing vehicle for Alexander Payne. Payne's Ad Hominem will produce with Josh Donen, on behalf of Sam Raimi's Stars Road. Wilson tells the story of an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and maybe nobody else and who begins a quest to find human connection with his ex-wife. You know that can't end well.

Clowes adapted his graphic novel into the Terry Zwigoff-directed Ghost World, and his comic creations include  the anthology Eightball. Clowes turned one of those stories into the 2006 film Art School Confidential, which Zwigoff also directed. Mr. Wonderful, the next graphic novel by Clowes, will be published by Pantheon next April. He's repped by UTA, Payne by CAA.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: for petes sake on January 18, 2011, 01:45:06 PM
Exclusive: Alexander Payne’s Next Film Will Be ‘Nebraska’
Source: The Playlist

It’s been almost seven years since Alexander Payne released his critically acclaimed road trip drama “Sideways” in 2004. The film earned four Academy Award nominations (including one win for Best Adapted Screenplay) and that helped put Fox Searchlight on the map paving the way for future success with films like “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Juno” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Now with his upcoming drama “The Descendants” essentially complete from a post-production perspective, Payne is looking towards his next project which will shoot later this year. Titled “Nebraska,” and set up over at Paramount, the picture is finally getting off the ground after some six odd years of sitting in Payne’s queue waiting for the right opportunity to be made. Centering on a father and son dynamic, “Nebraska” is about 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 dissaude 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, providing an opportunity to bond with his father after years of separation.

Written by Robert Nelson, the script was brought to Payne circa 2004 by Bona Fide producers Alex Berger and Ron Yerxa (the team behind “Little Children,” “Election,” “Little Miss Sunshine”) in the days when Paramount Vantage was known as Paramount Classics (both have since been swallowed up into Paramount proper). Payne immediately responded to the screenplay, but had just come off “Sideways” and “About Schmidt” and wanted to put some distance between himself and road-trip tales which he had just tackled back-to-back. However, Payne is now retuning the script with Phil Johnston (the writer of the upcoming comedy “Cedar Rapids” which Payne produced with his longtime Ad Hominem partner Jim Taylor) and Yerxa tells us that the plan is to shoot the film in the late summer or early fall before “The Descendants” is released by Fox Searchlight.

While no actors have been cast the filmmakers have had some vague, very early ideas of who they could envision in the role. One is coming off a semi-hit doc-mockumentary (he’s an Affleck) and the other is potentially Robert Forster (”Jackie Brown”) for the father role who is also in “The Descendants,” but no deals are in place for either actor and Yerxa stresses that true casting and audtions won’t begin until much later in the year when Payne is satisfied with the script. “Casting is still wide open,” Yerxa said. “Alexander can’t cast an actor until he’s read for the part and he knows he’s exactly right for it.”

So the what does that mean for “Downsizing,” the high-concept and ambitious dystopian satire screenplay Payne wrote about a world that miniaturizes humans to combat against overpopulation, excessive waste and global warning? Jim Taylor at Ad Hominem tell us while budgeting was a concern, technical issues were also a reason the film was temporarily delayed (yes, its still in the queue for later down the road). So after a six-year drought, Alexander Payne is virtually making back to back films, which definitely has us excited.

We’re told “The Descendants” is eyeing a late fall, possibly early winter release from Fox Searchlight and we wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up at TIFF to begin its awards season run. It’s been too long since we last had a Payne full-length film on the big screen but we’re not only glad that he’s back, but that he’s busier than ever.

Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: MacGuffin on October 19, 2011, 08:06:57 AM
Alexander Payne Calls ‘Downsizing’ His “Epic Masterpiece”; Says ‘Nebraska’ Could Be In Color For TV
But Says ‘Downsizing’ May Have To Wait Two More Films

Source: The Playlist

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.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on October 20, 2011, 02:11:47 AM
Oh My God, this guys just getting started and he's already high on my shortlist... im getting a boner  :oops:

pt must be... not quite spinning in his bed, but its a definite turn
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pubrick on October 20, 2011, 04:06:01 AM
Oh My God, this guys just getting started and he's already high on my shortlist... im getting a boner  :oops:

he might be just starting in terms of how many movies he's made but this guy is one of the oldest directors to be called a young up and comer since Altman in the 70s! it always struck me as weird when they included him in the brat pack of the late 90s. in fact, i think he made Citizen Ruth when he was in his mid-30s and didn't even get noticed until Election which was a few years after that. i actually admire the guy more for being a late bloomer than for any of his actual work.

i always tell myself, i'm way past being welles, i'm now past being kubrick/pta, at the rate i'm going i am just thankful that Alexander Payne didn't do shit until most people would be ready to throw in the towel. so i've got until 35 to make something of myself. and in the absolute worst case scenario, i pull out the kaufman card.


pt must be... not quite spinning in his bed, but its a definite turn

haha, great reference. dude is spinning in his kid's diapers right now, if anything. seriously did anyone ever bother to check if he was Irish? i guess we should all have expected him to have a big family considering his obsession with that theme in his films. like how kubrick could have been expected to be superhuman.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: theyarelegion on October 21, 2011, 12:18:56 AM
how old are you Pubrick?
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pubrick on October 21, 2011, 05:33:17 AM
http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=5265.msg300130#msg300130
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on October 21, 2011, 06:11:15 AM
Oh My God, this guys just getting started and he's already high on my shortlist... im getting a boner  :oops:

he might be just starting in terms of how many movies he's made but this guy is one of the oldest directors to be called a young up and comer since Altman in the 70s!

i misspoke a bit, guess i should have worded it better... *ahem:

Fuckin A! Turns out this guy's just getting started! Goddamn, and he's already got a pretty high spot on my shortlist... holy fuck guys, my erection's almost hurting!  :doh:
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on May 16, 2012, 11:54:27 AM
And now my boner has launched through the ceiling...

Bruce Dern and Will Forte to play alchoholic father and loser son in black and white road trip movie, Nebraska. (http://www.slashfilm.com/alexander-payne-bruce-dern-forte-nebraska/#more-127360)

ive got hiIigh hopes for this one.. might even have to call my dad after this one

you see CR yet P?
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Reelist on May 17, 2012, 03:01:38 PM
you see CR yet P?

I'm not P, but I'm watching it on Tv right now. Infinitely better than I expected ( I blame the cover )

(http://images.zap2it.com/images/movie-19278/citizen-ruth.jpg)
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: 72teeth on May 17, 2012, 03:26:55 PM
yeesh... the dvd art is not much better

(http://s1.hubimg.com/u/385988_f520.jpg)
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: wilder on April 27, 2013, 11:48:07 AM
Nebraska will be getting a limited released on November 22, 2013

This is interesting:

Nebraska will be released in black-and-white, but was shot on color stock to appease the studio who wanted something more saleable for cable networks and other non-theatrical avenues.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pubrick on April 27, 2013, 02:22:40 PM
sofia cuntpola.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: wilder on April 27, 2013, 03:26:08 PM
i cannot look up to some dickhead whose film adventures are just a diversion from a comfortable life. i'm looking at you sofia cuntpola.

It's great when someone coming from little or no resources can transcend their situation and become a great filmmaker anyway. So many of the more talented filmmakers today DID come from means though, and coming from means allowed them the time and resources to develop their craft in the first place. Remember all those stories about PT running around, stopping traffic in the street, "anything for a shot"? How his dad was one of the first guys on the block to own a VCR?

If someone comes from means and has no talent to go along with the opportunities presented to them because of it, yeah, that's annoying. Alexander Payne, Sofia Coppola, etc. - they have unique voices and something to say,  and they obviously work hard on the projects they create and care about the quality of their films. You're hating in the wrong direction, man.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Pubrick on April 27, 2013, 03:57:53 PM
it was funny when i said cuntpola.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: wilder on May 01, 2013, 02:29:53 AM
This is a great interview, from 2005:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fw8oNps1qQ
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: wilder on October 08, 2013, 09:18:43 PM
Alexander Payne Signs 'The Judge’s Will' With Fox Searchlight
via The Playlist

While Alexander Payne has carved out a niche for himself as a filmmaker sharply attuned to the nuances of human relationships, he's always had a couple projects brewing that are wildly different than the milieu he's become known for. Most famously would be "Downsizing," a high-concept social satire that was to star Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon and Sacha Baron Cohen, following a married couple who are low on money and decide they can have a much nicer life retiring as little people. The sci-fi-ish film that Payne called his potential "epic masterpiece (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/alexander_payne_calls_downsizing_his_epic_masterpiece_says_nebraska_could_b)" didn't come together due to how it expensive it would've been and it has been on the backburner. So too has "Wilson," an adaptation of the Daniel Clowes comic (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/alexander-payne-says-nebraska-likely-to-be-retitled-wilson-keeps-moving). But a new project has arrived, which looks more likely to get greenlit than those ventures.

Fox Searchlight, who has teamed in the past with Payne on "Sideways" and "The Descendants," are set to work with him again on "The Judge's Will." Based on a New Yorker story (http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/03/25/130325fi_fiction_jhabvala?currentPage=all) by the late Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (who penned scripts for "A Room With A View," "Howard's End" and "The Remains Of The Day" among others), the film will tell the tale of an elderly Bombay judge who looks to ensure both his young Bombay wife and mistress are cared for after he passes away. And outside of the exotic setting, it seems like the kind of low key, human story that's right in Payne's wheelhouse.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: wilder on November 05, 2014, 07:58:05 PM
Matt Damon To Star In Alexander Payne’s Long-Gestating Sci-Fi-Ish Geopolitical Comedy ‘Downsizing'
via The Playlist

Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing” is coming back to life with Matt Damon in the lead role. Payne had been developing the project since “Sideways," but because of its scale and technological issues—he wasn't wasn’t well-versed in the latter at the time—he shelved it and instead took on “The Descendants” and then “Nebraska.”

Deadline, which broke the news, seems to have forgotten the logline, but we read the script ages ago. Below is what we wrote way back when as a kind of synopsis. Essentially, the film is a kind of dystopian satire with geo-political connotations, but much like Payne's work often is, it's personal and intimate. 

"Downsizing," after all, starts off in Norway and takes place in a not-too-distant future where humans are now able to shrink themselves to 1/8 their size as a means to battle over-consumption and the rapid depletion of earth's natural resources, thanks to enlightened hippie-like Scandinavian scientists. "Smalls" get small, then become members of small cities (the main characters moves to a city called Leisureland) protected by large nets (keeps the bugs out) and built like Disney's Celebration Town (all planned, all pre-fabricated). Small people cash-in their savings and retire small; 1 big dollar equals 500 small dollars. Smalls live on less food, less land, and produce less trash. As the story progresses, Americans are free to get small, but in Europe, where resources are beginning to truly run out, legislation arises suggesting 40% of the population get shrunk (whether they like it or not). For the big, the world grows smaller and scarier; for the small, the world grows bigger and scarier.

The original cast featured Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, and Gong Li when it was set up at Fox Searchlight, but the trade mentions none of these names. But it appears the more bankable Damon has been set up in the lead over Giamatti, as a man who shrinks himself to a miniscule size in order to have what he believes will be a better life.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: jenkins on May 21, 2015, 09:37:11 PM
Flips me out, how terrible the characters of Election are as people, and how well written they are. Election spoiler. Dude throws a drink at a limo and darts off, which is random crazy shit people with personal problems do, then he stares at a girl holding up her hand to answer his question at the museum, he stares at her with agitation, fade to black, "Anybody?" and credits roll. That's the end of the movie. And the other characters -- everyone is imperfect, and the narrative is about imperfections changing the directions of other people's lives.

Spoilers for Nebraska and Sideways
They're more terrible as people compared to, for example, characters in Nebraska, the lives of which characters one might call imperfect, but I wouldn't quite call the characters imperfect, except the greedy outsiders. A huge narrative component is whether the dad owed money or lent money. Same with Sideways, because apparently well you see that was just what was going on before Jack's marriage and he only said he loved Stephanie because he was feeling crazy one night I guess, I mean the guy was headed back to his marriage.

People are much more wicked in Election, wickedness is the motif, and the movie is entertaining and humorous and likeable. That's something. Good job Payne.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: wilder on February 10, 2016, 12:31:59 AM
Alexander Payne To Direct Road Trip Flick 'My Saga'
via The Playlist

If you've had an ear tuned to the literary world over the past year or two, you'll likely have heard the name Karl Ove Knausgaard. He's the Norwegian author whose claim to fame is his six volume, no holds barred, dirty laundry and all autobiography "My Struggle," which has made him a sensation, and now he better get ready for some more attention.

Alexander Payne has signed up to direct "My Saga." The road trip movie will be based on Knausgaard's travel writing for New York Times magazine, which saw him journey through the northern United States, retracing the steps the Vikings took through the country. His work was published across two parts which you can read here (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/magazine/karl-ove-knausgaard-travels-through-america.html) and here (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/magazine/karl-ove-knausgaards-passage-through-america.html). It seems like a good fit for the filmmaker who has spun previous on-the-road stories in "Sideways" and "Nebraska."

It's all early stages, and there's no writer attached yet, so this will be a while in coming. Next for Payne is "Downsizing" starring Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis. Production will begin this year for release in 2017.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Kal on August 12, 2017, 12:03:51 PM
I don't know why but there is something about the premise, the cast, this photo, the idea of Alexander Payne + Black Mirror, that really makes me want to see this right away!

http://www.slashfilm.com/downsizing-first-look-matt-damon-shrinks-himself-for-director-alexander-payne/ (http://www.slashfilm.com/downsizing-first-look-matt-damon-shrinks-himself-for-director-alexander-payne/)

(https://i0.wp.com/media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/wp/wp-content/images/downsizing.jpg)
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on August 12, 2017, 12:20:33 PM
I don't know why but there is something about the premise, the cast, this photo, the idea of Alexander Payne + Black Mirror, that really makes me want to see this right away!

http://www.slashfilm.com/downsizing-first-look-matt-damon-shrinks-himself-for-director-alexander-payne/ (http://www.slashfilm.com/downsizing-first-look-matt-damon-shrinks-himself-for-director-alexander-payne/)

(https://i0.wp.com/media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/wp/wp-content/images/downsizing.jpg)

On a slight tangent, I love Slash Film — and especially their podcast (http://www.slashfilm.com/category/features/slashfilmcast/) — but they really need to redesign that website.
Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: KJ on August 12, 2017, 02:16:40 PM
I agree with it sounding good.

And they look so creepy in that picture. I hope it get's creepy. Like, really creepy.

Title: Re: Alexander Payne
Post by: Just Withnail on August 17, 2017, 10:48:22 AM
I finally get to say "they shot this in my neighbourhood!". Parts of it are shot on a boat right outside the northern Norwegian town where I grew up.