Hollywood legend Bruce Dern gets a rare lead role, his first in 30 years, in Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’, which after wowing the critics in Cannes is now coming out worldwide.
Thoughtful and wry, laugh-out loud funny – yet with a severity enhanced by the black-and-white photography – it has a father-son relationship at its core.
“Our relationship in the movie is very similar to our relationship as people. We didn’t know each other at all and we were stuck in this car for like 35 days together. Or in houses, like we were in the middle of Nebraska. And so we spent a ton of time together, and we really got to know each other really well. By the end we had really bonded and we were really tight,” explained Will Forte, who plays Dern’s son with a deft comic touch honed over years of television work.
Dern walked off with the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his star turn, completely at ease in a landscape of becalmed motels and peeled-paint farmsteads, charting his progress towards an illusory fortune.
“The subject matter is very plain, but very sectionalised. It covers many, many levels of relationships. And in this, I have always felt in my life that it was essential – and I did not do this – to say some things to the older people in your life that you have never had the courage or the guts to say before it is too late. And there is a lot of that in this movie,” he said.
With among others ‘Election’, ‘Sideways’ and ‘About Schmidt’ to his name, Alexander Payne is one of Hollywood’s sharper observers of human foibles. He calls ‘Nebraska’ a ‘depression era’ film.
The cast, which includes June Squibb as Dern’s long-suffering wife, Bob Odenkirk from ‘Breaking Bad’ and Stacey Keach, ensure the film is anything but depressive.