Everyone seems to be talking to director Alexander Payne these days thanks to the festival success of his latest feature, “The Descendants.” That is, except for The Playlist (*bitter tears*). Such is life. The director recently sat down with both the New York Times and L.A. Times for in-depth profiles, and while Payne hasn’t made a feature-length film since 2004 (“Sideways“), both outlets remind us he’s still been busy.
He directed a short segment for the omnibus feature “Paris, Je T’Aime,” helped write the Adam Sandler comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,” directed a TV pilot (“Hung“) and produced the movie “King of California.” He also got divorced, something we hear will take up lots of your emotional time. He also penned an ambitious and effects-heavy dystopian comedy script called “Downsizing” that he had to shelve because of budget constraints.
“Everybody is going to use the global economy to justify their traditional stinginess,” he said to the L.A. Times of the 2008 recession that rippled into the film industry and ankled several projects including his. “I realized ‘Downsizing’ would be a little bit of a long road” (he recently said it could be his “epic masterpiece,” but it might be at least two pictures away). In the New York Times piece, the central motif was time. The filmmaker just turned 50 and he wants to make up for the long gap between pictures. “I just want to make a few films,” he said. “I’m very, very, very eager to shoot.” Which is good to hear, because it seems like he has two more films on the burners, including “Nebraska” which will shoot in May of 2012.
Anywhoo, long way of saying Fox Searchlight has released nine new images from the movie (and two of them that are on the NYTimes site). “The Descendants” opens today in limited release on five screens in New York and L.A. Two days later on Friday, November 18, the film begins wider expansion in Toronto, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Denver, San Diego and San Francisco. Even deeper expansion begins on November 23. Check the Fox Searchlight site for the full theatrical roll-out schedule.