After a few years of relative inactivity (public inactivity, at least) director Alexander Payne is really getting back to work. He’s wrapped a feature adaptation of The Descendants, which we could see late this fall during the Sept festival circuit, and now has revived a script that he started considering back in 2004 when Sideways was a hot indie commodity.

Nebraska is a script by Robert Nelson that depicts a father/son roadtrip. (So, no, it isn’t an adaptation of the Bruce Springsteen album, which would perhaps also be great subject matter for Mr. Payne.) And after taking a few years off of roadtrip movies, it looks like the director is ready to get back in the car. Read More »

Sublimely talented writer/cartoonist Daniel Clowes first saw his work on screens in 2001 with Ghost World, and then again in the rather disappointing Art School Confidential. We’ve been waiting for his animated film with Michel Gondry and son to appear, but in the meantime his latest graphic novel, Wilson, may be raw material for an Alexander Payne film. Read More »


Carter Beats the Devil is one of those novels that made a big splash, was quickly optioned and then dropped right into development hell. But now it is getting a second chance at Warner Bros., with Michael Gilio set to script. (He wrote the draft of Treasure Island for WB that Paul Greengrass is reportedly directing.) In addition, Gilio has written a script for director Alexander Payne. But is that for Payne to produce, or direct? Read More »


Variety isn’t the only organization that can bury info in reports. Hawaii does it, too! Down at the end of the long press release trumpeting Hawaii as the filming location for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is a minor nugget about Alexander Payne. The director is currently in pre-production on The Descendants, which will indeed star George Clooney as recently rumored. Read More »


I’m currently feeling a bit overloaded on George Clooney, what with his upcoming roles in The Men Who Stare at Goats, Up in the Air, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. After not seeing him on the big screen since Burn After Reading, it now feels like we’re facing an onslaught on Clooney projects. Now, we may be able to add yet another one to the mix. Clooney is apparently eying the lead in Alexander Payne’s upcoming Hawaii-based family dramedy, The Descendants, which is based on the novel of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

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His exec-produced show Hung is doing well on HBO, but it’s been five years since Alexander Payne had a feature in theatres. (It really doesn’t seem that long since Sideways.) He was going to return with an adaptation of the novel Downsizing, an ambitious project in which a man purposely shrinks himself to be like a little person in order to have an easier life. Crazy tale, but there was a great cast attached: Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon and Sacha Baron Cohen. But the movie would also have been crazy expensive, and it looks like that has killed it for now. Production Weekly said over Twitter today that Payne is now slated to go into production on another feature early next year. This one is an adaptation of the novel The Descendants. More on the project after the jump. Read More »

Ed Helms to Star in Cedar Rapids


Most of the big casting news post-Hangover has focused on Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. Maybe that’s because their co-star Ed Helms was already quite well established thanks to The Daily Show and The Office. But he’ll be on hiatus from shooting The Office in October, and according to Variety he’ll fill the time by starring in Cedar Rapids, a film for which Alexander Payne will be producer while Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt) directs. Read More »

Hung Television Trailer


Thomas Jane could finally have his real break-out role. HBO has premiered the (SFW) trailer for Hung, a series in which Jane plays a high-school basketball coach / gym teacher who realizes that he can become a star by exploiting his giant…sexual apparatus. Anne Heche co-stars as his ex-wife, and Jane Adams (Little Children) is aboard, too, as the woman who becomes, essentially, the pimp for Jane’s character. But the most notable creative name is Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election), who directed the pilot and will stay on as executive producer. Watch the trailer after the jump. Read More »


[Update: We have now heard from Meryl Streep’s publicist, Leslee Dart, about this rumor. Referring to the Streep part of this casting news, Dart writes that “there is absolutely no truth to this.” -David]

Jeff Wells appears to receive an unholy amount of gossip and tip-offs from his readers. The latest one he’s believed enough to publish is a casting notice for the previously unknown picture, Downsizing. According to the currently unsubstantiated e-mail Wells received, the film is to be directed by Alexander Payne and will star Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon. You have no idea how much I want this to be real. That’s half of the reason I’ve brought the news to you here – the other half is that I suspect, actually, it is real.

Wells has apparently sent out dowsing e-mails to all the right people in order to find out how much water the story holds, but at the time of writing, still awaits replies. I’ll be hovering over his blog like a threadbare Eagle until my bedtime.

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Yeah, like that. Director/Moviegoer Upper Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election) will take a dip into TV to direct HBO‘s new dark comedy series, Hung. Variety reports that Payne is also expected to hop on as an executive producer. Personally, another show, even a good one, examining the psyche of a middle-aged American man, a former high school sports star and father at that, risks treading a well-worn road, but the hook to Hung is that the guy’s dick is huge. And apparently, he’ll learn to use this to his advantage. So, that’s different. The show was created by husband/wife team Dimitry Lipkin and Colette Burson (The Riches) and Burson had this to say…

“Think of him like Spider-Man. He’s an average guy who gets in touch with his innate superpowers.”

What, no Dream On comparison? This really cool news arrives on the heels of vague news about a future HBO series based on the doc Cocaine Cowboys from Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, so it looks like new HBO Entertainment prexy, Sue Naegle, is making very high profile and provocative moves. More on this/these shows as it develops…

Discuss: Who doesn’t want to watch this show with Payne involved?