Bruce Dern Thought ‘Nebraska’ Would Be Made Without Him

“I was worried it would never get made and I’d never get an opportunity to play the role,” revealed “Nebraska” star Bruce Dern revealed at pic’s Nov. 6 Gotham screening.

He explained that pic’s helmer, Alexander Payne, showed him the Bob Nelson script over nine years ago.

“Then he went and made ‘Sideways’ and ‘The Descendants,’ Dern said. “I kept thinking that he’s making them because he can’t get (“Nebraska”) made and me, being as paranoid as I am, knew that it was because of me. I thought if he just gets rid of me than he could get the movie made and I could go on and do ‘Rumpelstiltskin Part 3’ or whatever it is I’m having to do. But he eventually got me (approved.) Then the next battle was the black and white battle.”

Payne’s sixth directorial feature about a son who takes a roadtrip with his sweepstakes-obsessed alcoholic father, is his first film based on another writer’s original screenplay.

“I never thought anyone would actually make it,” Nelson said at the Brasserie 8 ½ after party. “I was writing it for the fun of it and to have a writing sample for Hollywood.”

Scribe added that he originally envisioned the Paramount pic in color.

“Alexander told me that the first time that he read the script he saw it in black and white,” Nelson said before film’s Paris Theater screening. “I thought, great idea.”

When Payne, who could not attend the premiere, told pic’s producers, Bona Fide’s Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa about his lensing idea, they were excited.

“Between (Alexander) wanting Bruce and wanting to film in black and white – that’s a movie I’d really like to see,” Berger said. “But then of course convincing the studio is real challenge. There were some obstacles, but ultimately Paramount was very supportive.”

The producing duo, who last worked with Payne on 1999’s “Election,” described the difference 14 years makes.

“Election was (Alexander’s) first studio film,” Berger explained. “He was trying to protect what he was trying to do with that movie. In the case of (“Nebraska”) I think that he was much more relaxed and more secure.”

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