Alexander Payne and Paul Giammatti will renite on the David Hemingson-scripted “The Holdovers”.
The duo, who previously teamed on acclaimed 2014 film “Sideways”, will head to New England early next year for the shoot.
Shopped at the Cannes Virtual Market next week, the film sees Giammati play “a universally disliked teacher at the prep school Deerfield Academy. His non-fans include his students, fellow faculty and headmaster — who all find his pomposity and rigidity exasperating. With no family and nowhere to go over Christmas holiday in 1970, Paul remains at school to supervise students unable to journey home. After a few days, only one student holdover remains — a troublemaking 15-year-old named Angus, a good student undermined by bad behavior that always threatens to get him expelled. Joining Paul and Angus is Deerfield’s head cook Mary, an African-American woman who caters to sons of privilege and whose own son recently was lost in Vietnam. These three very different shipwrecked people form an unlikely Christmas family, sharing comic misadventures during two very snowy weeks in New England, and realizing that none of them is beholden to their past.”
Payne said he was inspired to do the film after watching a French film from the ’30s.
“I came across a writing sample for a pilot set in a prep school by David Hemingson,” Payne told Deadline. “I called him, told him the idea, and he jumped at it. Ever since I worked with Paul in Sideways, I’ve wanted to work with him again, and this role is tailor made for him. I continue to think now as I did then. … I hate to use the term ‘the finest actor of his generation’ because there are so many wonderful actors, but when I worked with him on Sideways, I was astounded by his range. As a director you want actors who can make even bad dialogue work, and he can do that. He can just do anything. I think it’s a matter of time before he gets his Oscar.”