The project reunites Giamatti and Payne, who teamed on the Oscar-winning 2004 comedic drama “Sideways,” which follows two men in their 40s who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara wine country.
“The Holdovers” is also being billed as a comedic drama, in the vein of Payne’s prior movies like “Nebraska,” “The Descendants” and “Sideways.” The director’s most recent effort was the 2017 sci-fi dramedy “Downsizing” with Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Kristen Wiig.
David Hemingson, a writer on several TV series including “Whiskey Cavalier” and “Kitchen Confidential,” penned the screenplay for “The Holdovers.” Mark Johnson set to produce the film.
In “The Holdovers,” Giamatti will portray Paul Hunham, a universally disliked professor at a prep school called Deerfield Academy. With no family and nowhere to go around the holidays in 1970, he stays on campus to supervise students who couldn’t go home. After a few days, only one person is left: a troublemaking 15-year old named Angus, a good student whose bad behavior always threatens to get him expelled. Along with the school’s head cook Mary, whose own son was recently lost in Vietnam, the three form an unlikely bond as they spend Christmas together during two very snowy weeks in New England. Remaining cast members have not been announced yet.
CAA Media Finance is representing the film domestically and Filmnation is handling international rights ahead of next week’s Cannes Virtual Market.
Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.