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Cannes Preview: Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska,’ in Black-and-White (and Color?)

Cannes Preview: Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska,' in Black-and-White (and Color?)

Nebraska,” Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” follow-up starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte, is heading into competition for the Palme d’Or at Cannes later this month. Payne took “About Schmidt” to Cannes in competition in 2002.

Payne directed a script he’s been sitting on for years by Bob Nelson. “It’s a father/son road trip from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska that gets waylaid at a crappy town in central Nebraska where the father (Bruce Dern) grew up, and where he has scores to settle,” Payne said in our  interview.

The washed-up, drunken dad believes he’s won one of those Publisher’s Clearing House million-dollar sweepstakes, forcing his distant son (Forte) to come along for some bonding and inevitable mischief-making. (See the sneak preview of “Nebraska” in USA Today.)

Judging from the first official still (above), the film will, indeed, screen in glorious black-and-white. According to Payne, who still spends time in Omaha, the film was shot in color in 2011 at the behest of Paramount. The studio was initially leery of shooting the film in B&W —  “The Artist” would not have been such a success” without its Oscar pedigree — so the film was transposed into that format. So it remains to be seen how the film will go out in various venues. In our TOH! interview, Payne said, “It’ll be black and white for theatrical, DVD and streaming. If they need a color version for their TV output deals, they will have it.”

Paramount has slated “Nebraska” for an awards-ready November 22 release stateside, but we’ll know more when the film debuts at Cannes in two weeks.

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