Paramount wants a big star for the film -- obviously, a star who's willing to take less than his usual paycheck -- to play the "geriatric gin-hound of a dad who takes his estranged son with him from Montana to Publisher's Clearing House headquarters in order to claim his million-dollar sweepstakes prize." Check it out:
Names on his and Paramount's short list include the supposedly retired Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Robert Forster (who appears in Payne's The Descendants and whom you'll probably best remember from his brilliant turn in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown), and, of course, Payne's old About Schmidt collaborator Jack Nicholson.
Whoa, Gene Hackman? Hackman is indeed still retired, and told GQ Magazine this summer that he'd only be willing to act if "If I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything." But an actor of Hackman's caliber can't retire on freaking "Welcome to Mooseport." (The Ray Romano 2004 "comedy" was Hackman's last film.) Alexander Payne? In black-and-white? About a "geriatric gin-hound?" Hackman is gonna turn 82 in January. This is the one he's been waiting for. This is the one we've all been waiting for. This has to happen. Somebody get to New Mexico and get Hackman this script, now, immediately, fastfastfast. And kidnap him and make him do it, if you have to.
Or, hell, just film it in his house. Payne's a creative guy; he'll figure it out. Just don't disturb anything.
- Alexander Payne
- Gene Hackman