Fans of director Alexander Payne had to wait seven years between Sideways and The Descendants, but with his next film currently shaping up, there shouldn’t be as much of a break between films. He’s decided to make Nebraska, a movie that he’s attempted to film for years now, but one that has been tricky to cast. The story centers on an old man who “gets a sweepstakes letter in the mail and thinks he’s struck it rich.” He takes a roadtrip with his underachieving son to collect his winnings. After working with A-listers like George Clooney and Jack Nicholson, Payne has settled on a different approach this time, picking Bruce Dern for the role of the father and Will Forte as the son. No official offers have been made yet, but if Payne has his way those two will star in the low budget comedy-drama.
The part of the father, which some have referred to as “one of the great roles for a seasoned actor” has been extremely difficult to cast. A few years ago Gene Hackman was approached for it, but he refused, preferring to stay retired. If this current casting pans out, I’ll certainly be interested in seeing what Payne can do with Dern and Forte. The movie would provide Dern a rare opportunity for a starring role again and Forte could show audiences a previously untapped dramatic side. What are your thoughts on Payne’s casting choices for his next film?