Nov 30, 2012 9:28 AM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
BILLINGS - "Rolling!" That's the word that could be heard over and over again as a Hollywood film crew worked to create some magic in the Magic City.
"I would say I'm just making a good old-fashioned comedy," said the film's director, Alexander Payne.
The storyline of the movie follows a father and son's journey from Montana to Nebraska after the father insists he won a million dollar sweepstakes.
"The film 'Nebraska' is a father/son roadtrip from right here in Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska that get weighlayed at a very small town in central Nebraska where the father grew up," explained Payne. "Where it turns out he still has some scores to settle."
Typically, Payne writes and directs his own films. This time, however, the Oscar and Golden Globe winning director left the main writing job up to another guy. A decision that likely landed him in Billings.
"He set the first part of this film in Billings, and I just never changed it. I shoot a lot in Omaha, so for me to shoot in another unlikely place, like Billings, it's kind of what I like to do," said Payne. "A lot of times they will shoot the film in one place when it's supposedly takes place in another place due to financial reasons," Payne said. "I always like to shoot exactly in the place where things are scripted."
In addition to several other locations around town, the budgeted $13 million black and white film also used the Q2 studios for a scene in the movie.
"The lead character in the film is being played by Will Forte, formerly of Saturday Night Live, and his father is being portrayed by Bruce Dern. Will Forte's brother is, in this script, the local news man," Payne explained. "We have a scene where he's giving the news. He gets his shot to do the Noon on Saturday News because the normal anchor is sick and so they get to bump him up."
Regardless of the storyline, the location, the budget, or the actors, Payne has just one goal for every feature film he creates.
"I always want people just to feel that they've seen a good movie," Payne stated simply.
With the shooting portion now in the home stretch, the masterpiece will be unveiled once all these little scenes are combined into one, on the big screen next November.
Having a film crew of a large motion picture production working for a week in Billings, also has a significant impact on the local economy.
Billings Chamber of Commerce President John Brewer says the 'Nebraska' crew and cast will spend roughly $25,000 each day while they're in the Magic City.