First, the bummer: Alexander Payne's efforts to lure Gene Hackman out of retirement have failed. The legendary actor (who recently shrugged off a minor case of getting hit by a car) will not star in Payne's NEBRASKA, the filmmaker's low-budget, black-and-white follow-up to THE DESCENDANTS.
But Bruce Dern very well might. And it's possible he'll be joined by Will Forte. That's the kind of Plan B I can get behind.
NEBRASKA is about an alcoholic grump who believes he's won a sweepstakes, and hits the road with his unsuccessful son to claim the prize. Normally, there'd be no way a studio like Paramount would spend a dime on a movie starring Dern and Forte, but after THE DESCENDANTS made $82 million domestic and won a shitload of awards, they might be inclined to take this very slight risk. I hope they do. It's been far too long since someone gave Dern a nice, meaty role. Sure, I dig his indelible supporting turns in AFTER DARK, MY SWEET; MONSTER and countless Joe Dante films over the years, but I'd really love to see someone give him space to create another Freeman Lowell. And the idea of pairing him with Will Forte - who's no slouch when it comes to portraying eccentrics - is just inspired. I need to see what happens when you put these two wild cards together.
This feels like it could be something very special. Roll the dice, Paramount. Do it for Dernsy.