Director Alexander Payne speaks to Terry Gross today about how he mixed non-professional, professional, and non-actors on the set of Nebraska, trying to create a believable, real life feel:
All of my films, and [Nebraska] even more so, are a combination of highly seasoned, professional actors who typically live in Los Angeles or New York; local, non-professional actors … [who do] community theater, local commercials, that sort of thing; … and then non-actors, people really off the street or, in this case, off the farm whom John Jackson, my casting director, and I make a point of finding.
For this film, it took over a year of casting to find, for example, those retired farmers who play some of Bruce Dern’s character’s brothers and their wives. And it was a long process of putting out casting notices on, for example, rural radio after the farm report or in small town newspapers. …
That’s how we began to assemble the cast. So there are many people in the film who have never even been in a high school play. … At the same time we’re trying to find non-actors who can reliably present an unselfconscious version of themselves when the camera is running, I also have to ensure that the professionals coming from the coasts are believable in that setting.
image via LA Times
From left, Dennis McCoig as Uncle Verne, June Squibb as Kate Grant and Bruce Dern as Woody Grant in a scene from the film “Nebraska, ”
To Do List: 1) Listen to this interview, 2) Watch this movie, 3) Make the pictured homies MY NEW BEST FRIENDS.
My first time in the studio with Terry…(we recorded twice, on account of nerves.)
The audio won’t be online for another few hours, but if you’ve enjoyed Fresh Air’s tumblr (and other online/social media presences) at all you should check this out because today is Mel’s last day at Fresh Air and she is awesome.
I’ve fallen for all stripes of human beings in this world. I’ve fallen for straight men, I’ve fallen for gay men, I’ve fallen for straight women and gay women. I really have. I had crushes on really every single kind of person in the world. So there was this period of time in my life when I had this sort of romantic idea that everybody was like that, that we’re all human beings and that a person is a person and if there weren’t these sort of societal ideas about gender and sexual orientation, that anybody could fall in love with anybody. Making Humpday was really the experience that showed me that that is not true — that some people really, truly are straight. There’s a spectrum, and some people are really at one or the other.
Never gonna tire of this story.
I’m a geek. I’m a writer. I spent all of my time in my childhood obsessing about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. I was alone, I was an outsider, what do you expect? I was that bullied kid at the back of the class weeping for loneliness. I don’t think, generally speaking, people become writers because they were the really good, really cool, attractive kid in class. I’ll be honest. This is our revenge for people who were much better looking and more popular than us. I was a bit like that, I suppose.
FYI: My editors in DC are currently fighting over who gets to edit Fresh Air’s Doctor Who/Sherlock/Steven Moffat piece today.
Man, I love it so much when my favorite things come together (in this case, it’s Doctor Who/Sherlock/Steven Moffat and Terry Gross/Public Radio). When Terry interviewed Peter Jackson (10 years ago… vom.) I sat right up by the radio speakers to listen.