Alexander Payne Says Bryan Cranston Not Right for Upcoming Project 'Nebraska'

46 REP Alexander Payne H
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"The Descendants" director scores big with the L.A. and Broadcast Film Critics as the film's $24 million at the box office suggests a long run through awards season.

The "Breaking Bad" star auditioned for the father-son road trip feature, the "Descendants" director's next film.

Alexander Payne has already lined up his next project, but the search is still on for the lead actors.

In promoting the release of The Descendants DVD, Payne told The Huffington Post that Bryan Cranston had tried out for the father-son road trip movie.

"He's auditioned already," Payne said.

But the Breaking Bad star ultimately wasn't right for for the role, the director-writer admits.

"I don't think he's right for the part," Payne said, "but he's an astonishing actor, that guy."

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This isn't out of the ordinary for the filmmaker, who passed over Descendants star George Clooney for Sideways.

Payne is hoping to shoot Nebraska later this year, the Los Angeles Times reports, and said that casting the main characters will be "like casting a Mike Leigh film."

"The lead is a cranky Midwestern guy," Payne explains. "He goes in and out of dementia and cajoles his son to drive him from his home in Billings to Lincoln, Nebraska, because he thinks he's won a sweepstakes there. I need a Henry Fonda when he was a crotchety old [son of a gun]. But he's not available, so I'm looking elsewhere. I always liked the austerity of Fonda's acting, so that's what I'm going for."

Payne may also be taking a page out of Oscar-winning film The Artist, expressing interest in shooting Nebraska in black and white.

"Because it would look so cool," he said. "It seems that our politicians see the world in black and white, so why not our artists? Did Woody Allen's Manhattan have to be in black and white? No. But is it fantastic that it was? To see New York like that? Yes! I watch Paper Moon about once a year. Black and white is a good thing."

Cranston's movie career has been on the rise since the success of Breaking Bad. He starred in Contagion, Drive, Red Tails and the upcoming Rock of Ages.

Nebraska would mark Payne's sixth film, following Citizen Ruth, Election, Election, Sideways and The Descendants.