Following a bit of a bumpy road, director Alexander Payne’s drama Nebraska is now firmly on track and headed towards a production start. The film centers on an aging alcoholic father who decides to take a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to collect what he believes to be a million dollar Publisher’s Clearing House prize. His estranged son decides to accompany his father in order to keep him out of trouble. Payne was considering a number of esteemed actors for the lead and tried hard to coax Gene Hackman out of retirement, but we heard in May that Payne had his eye on Bruce Dern for the father role and Will Forte for the son.
Now Deadline reports that deals are being closed with Dern and Forte for the $13 million black-and-white film as Payne finally has the greenlight from Paramount. The Descendants was a swell entry to Payne’s oeuvre, but I’m highly intrigued by this small-scale yet ambitious drama. Forte is an immensely talented comedic actor and I have no doubt that he’ll nail Payne’s balance of drama and comedy. With deals closing and the picture a go, production begins this October for an awards season 2013 release.