Nebraska (film)

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Nebraska
Directed byAlexander Payne
Written byBob Nelson
StarringBruce Dern
Will Forte
Music byMark Orton
CinematographyPhedon Papamichael
Editing byKevin Tent
Distributed byParamount Pictures (USA)
Release date(s)
  • May 23, 2013 (2013-05-23) (Cannes)
  • November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22) (US)
Running time110 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
 
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Nebraska
Directed byAlexander Payne
Written byBob Nelson
StarringBruce Dern
Will Forte
Music byMark Orton
CinematographyPhedon Papamichael
Editing byKevin Tent
Distributed byParamount Pictures (USA)
Release date(s)
  • May 23, 2013 (2013-05-23) (Cannes)
  • November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22) (US)
Running time110 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Nebraska is a 2013 American drama film starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte. It is directed by Alexander Payne.[1] It is expected to be released in late 2013.[2] It was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival[3], where Bruce Dern won the Best Actor Award.[4]

Plot[edit source | edit]

A father and son trek from Montana to Nebraska to claim prize money.[1] Along the way, the two meet up with friends, relatives and acquaintances to whom the father owes money.[5]

Cast[edit source | edit]

Cast and director at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Production[edit source | edit]

Screenplay[edit source | edit]

While in production on About Schmidt, Alexander Payne was given Bob Nelson's screenplay by producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, asking him to recommend a director. He asked to direct it himself but didn't want to follow-up the road trip movies Sideways (which he was in pre-production on) with another road movie, and waiting to make it until completing The Descendants.

Casting[edit source | edit]

Payne originally considered Gene Hackman for the role of the elderly father Woody Grant, but he had already retired and couldn't be convinced to take the role. Although Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Forster were all considered for the role, Bruce Dern was ultimately cast because:

"Well, he’s of the right age now and he can be both ingenuous and ornery. And he’s a cool actor. And in a contextual level I haven’t seen on the big screen a great Bruce Dern performance in a few years and I’m curious to see what he can do. He’s a helluva nice guy as well."[6]

The role of son David was likewise a desired role by several in Hollywood. Bryan Cranston read for the role but was considered a bad fit by Payne. Matthew Modine publicly spoke of being considered,[7] Also considered candidates for the role were Paul Rudd and Casey Affleck. Ultimately Will Forte was selected by Payne, despite rumors that a high profile actor was wanted. Payne stated he cast the comedian because:

"Will Forte, physically, I believed could be the son of Bruce Dern and June Squib (who play’s Woody’s long-suffering wife, Kate). and then I just believe him as a guy I would know around Omaha or meet in Billings. He has a very, very believable quality. And I also think for the character of David he is capable of communicating a certain wide-eyed quality toward life and also damage – like he’s been damaged somehow, somewhere."[6]

Filming[edit source | edit]

The film was shot in black and white.[5] Payne chose to film in black and white to produce an "iconic, archetypal look". According to cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, the choice was to utilize "the poetic power of the black and white in combination with these landscapes and of course the landscapes are playing a huge role in this story". The choice of black and white was made against distributor Paramount Pictures' wishes. The film was shot with Arri Alexa digital cameras[8] and Panavision C-Series anamorphic lenses.[9]

Nebraska started filming in locations in Nebraska state in November 2012. Filming moved to Billings, Montana, Buffalo, Wyoming and Rapid City, South Dakota.[1][5] and wrapped in December after a 35-day shoot.

Reception[edit source | edit]

Nebraska premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with broadly positive reviews.[10] Robbie Collin at The Daily Telegraph gave the film four stars out of five in his review, describing it as "a bittersweet elegy for the American extended family, shot in a crisp black-and-white that chimes neatly with the film’s concern for times long past." He also said the film was "a resounding return to form for Payne".[11] Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian wrote that Payne had "returned to a more natural and personal movie language" and praised Bruce Dern's performance.[12]

Bruce Dern was later named Best Actor by the Festival's jury.[13]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

External links[edit source | edit]