‘Schmidt,’ ‘Talk’ bookend N.Y. fest

Complete slate to be announced in August

NEW YORK — The U.S. premieres of Alexander Payne’s “About Schmidt” and Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” will bookend the 40th annual New York Film Festival, which kicks off Sept. 27.

Dark comedy “About Schmidt” features Jack Nicholson as a retired actuary and recent widower who sets off across Nebraska in a Winnebago to sabotage his daughter’s wedding. Film co-stars Hope Davis, Kathy Bates and Dermot Mulroney.

“In opening ‘About Schmidt,’ the New York Film Festival celebrates two great talents,” said Richard Pena, chair of the fest’s selection committee: “Alexander Payne, clearly one of the finest new American directors to have emerged in recent years, and Jack Nicholson, who reminds us once again that he is unquestionably the premier actor of his generation.”

Co-written by Payne and Jim Taylor, “Schmidt” is based on the novel of the same name by Louis Begley. Pic was produced by Harry Gittes and Michael Besman and exec produced by Bill Badalato and Rachael Horovitz. New Line will release “Schmidt” on Christmas Day.

Closing night’s “Talk to Her” is the first pic from Almodovar since his Oscar-winning “All About My Mother,” and his fifth to be selected for the New York Film Festival. Drama tells story of two men whose friendship evolves in a private clinic where the women they love are both convalescing. Pic co-stars Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling and Rosario Flores. Film also features “The Silent Lover,” a black-and-white short Almodovar specifically created for the movie.

“With each new film, Pedro Almodovar reveals new shades and depths of his already prodigious talent,” Pena said. “With ‘Talk to Her,’ he has astounded even his most fervent admirers with the power of his writing and the extraordinary artistry of his direction.”

Sony Pictures Classics will release “Talk to Her” Nov. 22 in New York.

Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, NYFF runs Sept. 27-Oct. 14. Its complete slate will be announced in late August.

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