Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Star­ring Bruce Dern Opens Dec. 20 “It would mean ev­ery­thing,” he says at a press con­fer­ence, adding that the movie is still very much an en­sem­ble work. “The thing I’m proud­est of in this movie is the group ef­fort, and I in­clude the peo­ple be­hind the cam­era,” Dern says. “Alexan­der’s got an 85-mem­ber crew and half of them have worked on ev­ery movie he’s ever made. So he’s got a fam­ily there. “That’s what made it ex­cit­ing,” he says. “It was an at-bat for all of us.” To some ex­tent, Dern was cast be­cause he brings a Mid­west authen­tic­ity to a role that plays on the sto­icism and de­ter­mi­na­tion of that gen­er­a­tion of Mid­west­erner. He re­calls west­ward road trips from his na­tive Win­netka through the same coun­try in which Nebraska is set. “The peo­ple were mon­u­men­tal to me. They were big­ger than life, not in size — al­though they were big­ger size-wise too, be­cause the kids are haul­ing ice or shuck­ing wheat or what­ever it is that they do,” he says. “There was an hon­esty and in­tegrity, even at the gas sta­tion,” he says. “So I al­ways felt that once I left Illi­nois, ev­ery­one was fairer than where I lived. That was the qual­ity I picked up on more than any­thing else in the script. “If there’s one in­gre­di­ent that Woody has — and I don’t know if he knows he has it — he’s a fair man and he be­lieves every­body else is go­ing to be fair. “And when they’re not,” Dern says, “... there comes the story.” Dern has high praise for Payne — and keep in mind Dern’s first ever film work was for Elia Kazan in an un­cred­ited role in Wild River, among all those other su­per­star di­rec­tors. “The ex­cite­ment of it is you have a di­rec­tor who is stand­ing right next you, and you can feel his pulse,” Dern says. “He knows the scripts works. Eighty per cent of his job, he feels, is ac­com­plished in his cast­ing. “He’d sit there watch­ing the movie. He’s the first one see­ing it. He’s like the guy in the hud­dle with you, call­ing the plays, and then he’s go­ing to sit back and see if you run them well. “It’s an ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve never had be­fore in my ca­reer, and I’ve worked with plenty of peo­ple who have ma­jor game as di­rec­tors,” Dern says. “I’d never been in a piece of ma­te­rial where it was all there to be­gin with,” he says. “We didn’t have to add any­thing. “And I’m Mr. Add, trust me,” he chuck­les. “I’m the guy who puts in any­thing I can to make Brucey look a lit­tle bet­ter.” Nebraska opens in Winnipeg Dec. 20.

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