Alexander Payne May Adapt Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's The Judge's Will As His Next Feature
Following a seven year break from features in between 2004's Sideways and 2011's The Descendants, director Alexander Payne now appears to be more productive than ever. His latest film, the dramedy Nebraska, is still more than a month away from its theatrical release, but already the filmmaker has settled on his next project. According to Deadline, Payne is now in talks to reteam with Fox Searchlight to make The Judge's Will, a drama based on Award winning writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's final published work for The New Yorker before her death earlier this year.
Published this past March, the story is set in India and tells the story of an aging sick judge from Delhi and his young, beautiful wife from Bombay. The drama unfolds as the judge gets closer to death and "wants to be sure that his even younger, barely educated mistress is cared for and not cast out." You can read the full story on the New Yorker website HERE.
Payne is certainly no stranger to making movies about older characters and their relationships with a younger family member. He first approached this dynamic in 2002's About Schmidt, centering on a retiring man (Jack Nicholson) and his hope to repair his broken relationship with his only daughter, but also broaches it again in Nebraska, which follows an aging, alcoholic father (Bruce Dern) and his son (Will Forte) as they take a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim a million dollar prize that the dad believes he has won.
Not only does Payne have a strong familiarity with similar material, Jhabvala's work has long had a home on the big screen. In 1963 she adapted her own novel The Householder for a feature film directed by James Ivory and and produced by Ismail Merchant. The three of them went on to collaborate on many films, the most notable being 1993's The Remains Of The Day, 1992's Howard's End and 1985's A Room With A View (all of which earned multiple Academy Award nominations). At this time it's unclear who will be the writer that winds up tackling the adaptation of The Judge's Will, but it's worth noting that Payne has had a hand in the screenwriting process for almost all of his films.
Payne took home a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his work co-writing The Descendants and is expected to be in the thick of award season once again this year, so expect to hear his name a lot in the coming months. In the meantime, enjoy the recently released first trailer for Nebraska below.
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