Alexander Payne takes a "Sideways" Road Out Of Nebraska

It was only a matter of time before the talented director Alexander Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor left the confines of the Midwest and started making movies in the blazing Hollywood sun. But despite having a Hollywood blockbuster on their CV, having worked on “Jurassic Park 3,” Payne and Taylor will be going back to their roots as they move to the Left Coast, taking the indie approach with their latest film, “Sideways.”

Working with hot new producer Michael London (“The Guru,” Sundance hit “Thirteen” and the upcoming Dreamworks Oscar hopeful “House Of Sand And Fog”), Payne and Taylor have crafted a character study concerning two friends on a week long trip through the California wine country. just before one of them is to be married. Jack Pitcairn is in his late 30s, a failed actor who is barely earning a living doing voice-over work. While he very much loves his soon-to-be bride, he is panicking about the loss of his long standing bacherlorhood, and the pressures he will be under to join his new father-in-law’s real estate firm. It is through the suggestion of his best friend and best man, Miles Raymond, that the two go on this trip. Miles is a failed author currently teaching English at a private middle school who fancies himself an amateur wine connoisseur, when he’s really nothing more than an alcoholic. Miles went through a nasty divorce two years previous, unwilling and unable to move on, who spends most of his evenings drinking and writing while trying to find a way to get published.

Along their journey, the pair will spend time with Miles’ mother Phyllis, who moved from San Diego to Santa Barbara after the passing of her husband, and is an alcoholic herself. Jack and Miles will also a waitress named Maya, who is trying to get a new start on life after her own divorce by working as a waitress at a high-end in Buellton, while pursuing her Master’s degree in Education at neighboring Cal State San Luis Obispo.

The film, which has just began the casting process, is scheduled ot begin production throughout Southern California beginning September 1. As of this writing, no distribution deal is pending.

“Sideways” Scorecard
Director: Alexander Payne
Writers: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, adapted from the unpublished novel by Rex Pickett
Producer: Michael London
Co-Producer/UPM: George Parra
Casting Director: John Jackson, C.S.A.
Production Start Date: September 1, 2003
Shooting Locations: Southern California