New Alexander Payne Movie Canceled

Just one week before production was slated to begin, Nebraska director Alexander Payne‘s new untitled film has been canceled by Netflix. The film would have followed Mads Mikkelsen as a Danish journalist who goes on a road trip with his teenage daughter across America while he works on a story for a newspaper. Unfortunately, it looks like a rights issue is the issue and it appears that it will not be able to recover.

Deadline has word on the cancellation of Alexander Payne’s movie, which is a real bummer for everyone who was expecting to be employed for the duration of production. The right issue appears to stem from the contract with the subject who inspired the film, journalist Karl Ove Knausgard. Apparently the deal gave him an “out” from making the movie if he decided that he wasn’t comfortable with moving forward with his true story, and that’s exactly what happened.

Netflix recently won the script from Erlend Loe (Nord) in a bidding war with several other distributors, and they even tried to get the movie back on track after this unexpected problem arose. But they just couldn’t make it happen. Production would have started in Sweden this month, moved to Denmark and finished in the United States, and now it’s dead in the water.

There’s always a chance that the project could somehow come back around, but even if Karl Ove Knausgard changes his mind, it will be hard to trust that the movie will actually happen this time. If the movie were ever to resurface, there would likely need to be a clause in the contract that keeps the journalist from pulling out so late in the game. This kind of cancellation really screws over a lot of people, especially after so many worked so hard to get the production together to begin with.

Netflix was hoping that this would become one of their award contenders in 2020, so the story must be pretty damn good. But now we won’t get to find out for ourselves. Payne hasn’t had trouble landing award worthy projects before though, having written and directed Sideways, The Descendants, About Schmidt, and Nebraska, all of which ended up with Oscar nominations for various categories. His recent effort Downsizing wasn’t met with much acclaim, but Payne still has a hell of a track record. Hopefully he can find something new to inspire him.

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