Having racked up awards buzz and a rather tidy box office sum with The Descendants, director Alexander Payne is set to ease back into his road-movie wheelhouse with Nebraska. Production on the project has been delayed a couple times in the past months, as Payne worked on the script and searched for the right leads. After names like Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson and Robert Forster were bandied about, now comes news that the helmer has set his sights on Bruce Dern to play a cantankerous alcoholic and SNL alum Will Forte to occupy the role of his estranged son. The dramedy will see the two taking a car trip to collect on the father’s apparent sweepstakes win. At the moment, offers have not been made to either actor. Hit the jump for more on Nebraska.
The script for the project comes from Robert Nelson and Phil Johnston. Per Deadline, Payne was quite keen on pulling Gene Hackman out of retirement to play the father, but despite the reported juiciness of the role, Hackman could not be persuaded.
Veteran character actor Dern seems like a natural fit. A bit less intuitive is the choice of Forte for the son. Up until this point, he’s really only shown us his wacky side, playing over-the-top goofs in MacGruber, The Brothers Solomon, and most recently, Jenna Maroney’s Jenna Maroney-impersonating boyfriend on 30 Rock. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with a weightier part. As mentioned, this is a return to road-tripping for Payne, who previously plumbed the territory with About Schmidt and Sideways.