About The Production
"We are now authorized to pay one million dollars to
Mr. Woodrow T. Grant of Billings, Montana."
-- Notice from Mega Sweepstakes Marketing mailed to Woody Grant
In Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" a father and son steer the American road
comedy into a vanishing Midwest on the trail of a dubious fortune - and in
search of an understanding of each other that once seemed impossible.
This is the story of the Grant family of Hawthorne, Nebraska. Now
transplanted to Billings, Montana, stubborn, taciturn Woody (Bruce Dern in a
role that won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival) is well past his prime --
such as it ever was -- and possibly his usefulness, but he believes he's got one
last shot at mattering: a notice that he's the lucky winner of a million-dollar
To claim his fortune, Woody insists he must quickly get to the sweepstakes
company's office in Lincoln, Nebraska - a 750-mile journey that seems unlikely
given that he can barely shuffle down the road a few blocks, at least not
without stopping for a drink. Worried for his father's state of mind, it falls
to Woody's reluctant, baffled son David (Will Forte) to accompany him on a trip
that seems hilariously futile on the surface.
Yet, their odd journey becomes a kind of modern family odyssey. When Woody
and David make a pit-stop in their hometown of Hawthorne - with the Grant's
tart-tongued matriarch (June Squibb, "About Schmidt") and anchor-man son (Bob Odenkirk,
"Breaking Bad") joining them - word of Woody's fortune makes him,
momentarily, a returning hero. Then it brings out the vultures. But it also
opens a view into the unseen lives of David's parents and a past more alive than
he ever imagined.
Shot in a black and white Cinemascope that mirrors the dusky beauty of
small-town USA and the film's high contrasts of humor and heartbreak, the film
gives comic consideration to questions of family roots and family riddles,
delusion and dignity, self-worth and the quiet yearning for a dash of salvation.
Paramount Vantage presents in association with FilmNation Entertainment, Blue
Lake Media Fund and Echo Lake Entertainment, a Bona Fide production of
"Nebraska," directed by Alexander Payne from a screenplay written by Bob Nelson.
The producers are Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa; and the executive producers are
George Parra, Julie M. Thompson, Doug Mankoff and Neil Tabatznik.
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