Bruce Dern has seen it all in Hollywood. His TV work in the early ’60s positioned him to be right in the middle of the New Hollywood explosion that happened late in the decade. He’s in a mind-boggling array of great films, from Hang ‘Em High to They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, to The King of Marvin Gardens and The Driver — it’s impossible to reel off a quick summation of his career without feeling like you’ve left out five essentials.
Or maybe Dern has seen almost all of Hollywood. Dominating as the heavy, he’s never quite broken into lead status, and he’s never won an Oscar. (He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1979, an Oscar year thick with great performances, for his role in Hal Ashby’s Coming Home. Christopher Walken won, for The Deer Hunter, even as Jon Voight and Jane Fonda won the Best Actor and Actress trophies for their own work in Coming Home.)
So Nebraska feels like a singular moment in Dern’s career. He’s directed in the film by Alexander Payne, one of the modern filmmakers who feels most creatively connected to the biggest years in Dern’s career. He’s got a lead role, and it’s one which forces him to look past his own natural tendency to unleash a torrent of conversation. As scripted by Bob Nelson, his character, Woody Grant, barely talks at all. Even as we wonder about his mental capacity, he’s fixed on a goal: claiming the million bucks a piece of junk mail tells him he’s won. Dern approaches the work with quiet intensity and a real vulnerability, bouncing off co-star Will Forte‘s own uncharacteristic straight man role. The result is unlike anything else you’ll see this year.
I spoke to Dern in Los Angeles, and we discussed acting challenges and risk-taking, Payne’s quiet direction, and the goal of becoming a character, rather than simply performing as one. There’s even some trivia about The Exorcist in here, for good measure. Read More »
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Sideways and The Descendants director Alexander Payne returns with Nebraska, a road trip movie about family and fantasy, starring Will Forte and Bruce Dern. The elder actor plays a man who thinks he’s won a million bucks, and is journeying from Montana to Nebraska to collect. Forte is his son, who ends up along for the ride trying to guide and protect his pop.
This first trailer is great; it shows off the film’s low-key black and white aesthetic and ambitions towards channeling the tone of ’70s film drama. It’s also funny and effective as it shows the fragile relationship between Dern and the rest of his family, and hints at the difficult balance between owning up to reality and keeping some dreams alive, no matter how unrealistic they may be. Check it out below. Read More »
Alexander Payne‘s new film Nebraska stars Bruce Dern as an aging alcoholic who believes he has won a huge prize, and road trips from Billings, Montana to Nebraska in an attempt to collect. His son, played by Will Forte, tags along to keep the old man on course, but the two end up detouring to the old guy’s small home town.
Nebraska has been in the works for a while, and will debut at Cannes later this month. Before that premiere, we’ve got the first official image from the film, and the stark black and white image suggests that Payne’s trip back to his home state isn’t going to be the most light-hearted journey possible.
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Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2012 by Angie Han
Alexander Payne doesn’t have a horse in this year’s Oscar race, but look for him to get back in the game next year. Producer Albert Berger revealed that Payne’s Nebraska is eyeing a November or December 2013 release date, because “You know his films do well at the Academy Awards.”
We won’t have to wait quite that long for a peek at the new film, however. The first photos from the set have just hit the web, showing the father-son duo played by Bruce Dern and Will Forte as they stroll around snowy Billings, Montana. Hit the jump to continue.
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From Up On Poppy Hill, co-written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Gor? Miyazaki, was Studio Ghibli’s big 2011 release. It tells the story of two high school students hoping to clean up their hometown who run up against the corporate mindset of a local businessman. When the film came out in Japan last summer, it was a success for the legendary company and soon after, producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy decided to bring it to North America via GKids. The film will be released in November for an Oscar qualifying run followed by a wider release in March 2013. Its impressive English language voice cast has now been revealed. Read the full list after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Friday, October 5th, 2012 by Angie Han
Alexander Payne‘s never been one to just hire the biggest star he could get. Even George Clooney in The Descendants seemed like he’d been selected because he was the right fit for the role, not (just) because Payne was dazzled by Clooney’s A-list wattage, and Clooney was surrounded by an eclectic mix of comedians, newcomers, and TV stars.
For his next project Nebraska, Payne is taking a similarly interesting approach. Bruce Dern and Will Forte were confirmed as the leads a couple of months ago, and since then Bob Odenkirk and Stacy Keach have been added to the supporting cast as well. And now, for the villain of the piece, Payne has chosen Devin Ratray, best known as Buzz McCallister from the first two Home Alone films. Read more after the jump.
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Paramount has finally given the go-ahead to Alexander Payne to shoot Nebraska, the father/son road trip movie he has been working to cast and get into production since the release of The Descendants. While his last film was a relatively audience-friendly affair — for Payne at least — that had obvious appeal thanks to the presence of George Clooney, Nebraska is a slightly tougher sell, at least to the people who make financial decisions at studios.
Payne plans to shoot the script (by Bob Nelson and Phil Johnston) in black and white, with Bruce Dern and Will Forte now confirmed to appear as an aging alcoholic and his son, who are derailed while on what seems at first like a simple cross-country drive. Read More »
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Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 by Angie Han
Although there was a seven-year gap between Sideways and last year’s The Descendants, Alexander Payne seems eager to get going on his next project sooner rather than later. The filmmaker has begun casting for Nebraska, the black and white father-son road trip comedy he has set up at Paramount, and he now has top picks in mind for the two leads.
While names like Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Forster have been rumored for the older role, and Casey Affleck and Paul Rudd have been floated for the younger, a new report indicates that Payne has ultimately settled on Bruce Dern and Will Forte for the central roles. More details after the jump.
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