'The Descendants' Director Alexander Payne Puts A 'Babette's Feast' Remake On The Menu

Filmmaker Alexander Payne has hit a bit of a rough patch lately. His most recent movie, 2017's Downsizing, made just $55 million worldwide on a reported $68 million budget, and though it seemed like he was lining up a new Netflix project earlier this year, that was abruptly cancelled in October due to a rights issue. But it looks like Payne didn't take much time to bounce back, because he's already moved on to another movie: a remake of the 1987 Danish Oscar winner Babette's Feast. If you're a foodie, you should definitely have this on your radar.

Babette's Feast Remake

According to Deadline, Payne is now attached to direct this "reimagining," which will be written by Guy Branum (The Mindy Project, Chelsea Lately, Awkward). While the original was set in a tiny coastal village in Denmark, this one "will be set in a religious community in small-town Minnesota, where two older, unmarried sisters accept a refugee, who leads them to confront their regrets, over an extraordinary meal." I'd never heard of the original film, but take a look at its trailer below:

The original seems slightly dry for my tastes, but it's easy to imagine how this concept could be transplanted to an American setting and spiced up with Payne's sensibilities. And on a plot level, not only is there a wine connection with the director's 2004 hit Sideways, but there's also a thread about a lottery ticket that reminded me a bit of Nebraska, his 2013 film in which an old man travels across the country trying to claim a sweepstakes prize. In other words, this project feels like it's right in Payne's sweet spot.

Payne is a noted satirist, so I also wouldn't be surprised to see this version imbued with some biting commentary about the gluttony of our current culture, as well as an indictment of America's treatment of refugees over the past few years. But among those barbs, I expect this film to be a foodie's dream – the type of movie that makes you want to leave the theater and spent way too much money on a top-tier meal. There's the potential for this film to enter the Food Porn Hall of Fame, right up there alongside movies like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Ratatouille, Tampopo, The Trip franchise, and that food fight scene from Hook. (Yeah, you better believe that Hook made the cut. And no, I don't care that they're not eating real food! It looked delicious, OK!?)