Alexander Payne Chooses Bruce Dern and Will Forte for 'Nebraska'

Bruce Dern Will Forte Split - H 2012
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Bruce Dern Will Forte Split - H 2012

The Oscar-winning screenwriter and director picks Dern and Forte as his two leads after Gene Hackman and others passed on the father-son road trip drama.

After a long search, Alexander Payne looks to have found the leading men for his latest movie project, Nebraska.

Bruce Dern and Will Forte are Payne’s choices to topline the father-son road trip drama that the filmmaker intends to make in black and white.

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THR has confirmed that Payne has had his sight on Nebraska since 2003 and long courted Gene Hackman for the role of the father. Hackman, however, resisted, opting to stay retired.

Payne also looked at Tommy Lee Jones and in recent weeks met with Jon Voight as well as Dern. Casey Affleck was the top choice for the role of the son in 2011.

Payne has let the studio know of his acting picks although no offers have gone out.

The script focuses on an aging alcoholic who drafts his son to drive him from Montana to Nebraska so he can redeem his winning sweepstakes ticket. The son goes reluctantly, believing his dad's winning ticket is actually a form letter.

Acting since 1960, Dern, repped by CAA, appeared in movies such as 1972’s Silent Running and was nominated for an Oscar for 1978’s Coming Home. He recently had a key role in HBO’s Big Love playing the father of Bill Paxton’s character.

For Forte, the role could mean a dramatic turn a man known for his work on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and MacGruber. He is repped by UTA.