Alexander Payne has built his career on being a kind of poet of the road or, perhaps more accurately, an old wise friend of the American highways. He sees the romanticism of this sort of travel but doesn’t ignore the painful roots that these trips are meant to excise or, in some cases, worsen. In his last movie, the lovingly detailed Nebraska, the road to the titular state seems to be a kind of desperate journey to redemption or reclamation for Bruce Dern‘s Woody Grant and his son, David (Will Forte). About Schmidt offered a similar kind of taking-in of one’s age via the road with Jack Nicholson‘s Warren Schmidt, one of the actor’s last great performances (alongside The Departed).
So, it’s not so surprising to hear (via Thompson on Hollywood) that Payne is now looking to return to the road with My Saga, an adaptation of a pair of articles by Karl Ove Knausgaard that appeared in New York Magazine. The Norwegian journalist, who recently attained a cult status after writing a six-volume autobiography called “My Struggle,” traveled America by following the path taken by Vikings way back in the day, and its this very trip that Payne will be bringing to the big screen. Payne is attached, but the film is still currently seeking a writer to adapt the two articles into a feature-length script.
This gives Payne plenty of time to shoot Downsizing, a comedy that has been on his to-do list for years now, which will pair him once again with Reese Witherspoon for the first time since his fantastic breakout film, Election. The film is set to be released in 2017, and also stars Jason Sudeikis, Matt Damon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alec Baldwin, making it Payne’s biggest cast thus far in his career. Production on Downsizing is set to begin soon, which would suggest that My Saga will begin shooting in 2017 while presumable marketing begins on Downsizing, assuming that this project doesn’t get stuck in the so-called development hell the way his next project did. We shall see.