Alexander Payne’s ‘The Holdovers’ Sets November Release Date

Focus Features distributes the "Election" director's newest film, starring Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  Actor Paul Giamatti and Honoree Alexander Payne attend the George Eastman House 2014 Light & Motion Gala at Three Sixty on May 5, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne
Getty Images

Alexander Payne’s newest film is heading to theaters this fall. “The Holdovers,” a new comedy from the “Election” and “Descendants” director, will open in limited release on November 10, Focus Features announced Thursday. After two weeks, the film will expand into wide release on November 22, ahead of Thanksgiving Day.

Payne’s eighth directorial effort, “The Holdovers” stars Paul Giamatti, “Dolemite Is My Name” breakout Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and newcomer Dominic Sessa. Per the logline, the film is a period piece set in the middle of the Vietnam War that focuses on a curmudgeonly New England prep school instructor Paul Hunham (Giamatti) who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to look after the handful of students remaining at school during the holiday. Initially bitter over the assignment, Paul forms an unexpected bond with the rebellious but brilliant student Angus (Sessa) and with Mary (Randolph), the school’s head cook who recently lost her son in Vietnam.

“The Holdovers” is directed by Payne from a screenplay by David Hemingson, whose prior credits includes work on TV shows like “Whisky Cavalier,” “Black-ish,” “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23,” and “American Dan.” Hemingson also produces the film with Mark Johnson and Bill Block, while Chris Stinson, Tom Williams, Andrew Golov, and Thom Zadra serve as executive producers. Focus Features handles the film’s U.S. distribution, while Universal Pictures International will release the film in international territories.

The film will be the first from Payne in six years, after his 2017 feature “Downsizing” starring Matt Damon and Hong Chau bombed at the box office and received mixed reviews from critics. The director made his feature debut in 1996 with “Citizen Ruth,” a satire of abortion debate starring Laura Dern. Some of his other acclaimed films include “Election” starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, “About Schmidt,” “Sideways,” “The Descendants,” and “Nebraska.” Over the course of his career, he has received seven Oscar nominations, including three for Best Director and three for Adapted Screenplay, and won the screenplay trophies for “Sideways” and “The Descendants.”

Other films from Focus Features set for release later this year include “Champions,” “Inside,” and “A Thousand and One” this March; “Polite Society” and “Book Club: The Next Chapter” later in the Spring; Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” in the Summer; and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” in September.

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