Alexander Payne The Judges Will
Michel Dufour/French Select

Fox Searchlight in talks to distribute India-set story

“Nebraska” director Alexander Payne has acquired feature rights to Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s story “The Judge’s Will” through his Ad Hominem production banner along with Conde Nast Entertainment.

Fox Searchlight is in talks to distribute.

“The Judge’s Will” is Jhabvala’s final published work. The story appeared in the March 25 issue of  The New Yorker,  a week before Jhabvala died.

Jhabvala’s story focuses on the relationship between an ailing Delhi judge and his  younger wife. The story began with this sentence: “After his second heart attack, the judge knew that he could no longer put off informing his wife about the contents of his will.”

Jhabvala partnered with producer Ismael Merchant and director James Ivory on numerous productions. She won screenwriting Oscars for “Howard’s End” and “A Room with a View.”

“Nebraska,” shot in black-and-white, debuted at Cannes where Bruce Dern won the best actor prize. It also stars June Squibb, Stacy Keach and Bob Odenkirk. Paramount Vantage opens the film on Nov. 15.

Payne’s bigscreen credits also include “Sideways” and “The Descendants.”

The Deadline.com site first reported the news about “The Judge’s Will.”

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