Alexander Payne: Director, 'Sideways,' 'The Descendants,' 'Nebraska' and the ex husband of Sandra Oh
A great movie is the work of a great director, cast, and crew. It's no wonder that when a movie does well, the director’s next projects do well too. One of the greatest directors in Hollywood right now is, Alexander Payne. He is not only a movie director but he's also a screenwriter and producer. He has worked on many projects and made a net worth out of his career. Payne was initially married to Sandra Oh but the couple divorced im 2006. He is now the husband of Maria Kansas and they tied the knot in 2015. Despite breaking up with Sandra Oh, they have been remained friends. 57-year-old Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and he is the son of Peggy and George Payne who are restaurant owners. Payne is the last born in his family that also includes two brothers. Sandra Oh's ex husband was born in Dundee-Happy Hollow Historic District, which is the same hometown of billionaire, Warren Buffett. His father Greek and German descent, and his mother is Greek. Payne’s family was part of Omaha's fabric and it was part of his upbringing. His grandfather founded The Virginia Café and it’s the restaurant that was taken over by Payne’s father. Payne worked at the restaurant when he was young though fire destroyed it in 1969. The director attended Brownell-Talbot School, Dundee Elementary School, and then Lewis and Clark Junior High. He graduated from Creighton Prep Hgh School back in 1979 and while at Prep, Payne wrote a humor column for his high school newspaper and he even became the editor of the high school yearbook. Payne then went to Stanford University where he majored in both Spanish and history. As a part of his Spanish degree program, he studied at Spain’s University of Salamanca. Payne later lived in Medellin, Colombia, where he published one article about social changes between 1900 and 1930. He received his MFA in 1990 from the UCLA Film School. He has worked on 'The Descendants,' 'Sideways,' 'About Schmidt,' and 'Downsizing.'
Alexander Payne did not set out to make a movie about our times
There was a time when Payne told Esquire that his brain was working a little slowly today and that was having a very long week because he recently had a daughter with his second wife. According to past interviews of the director, he said that he might be a little bit frosty and distant since he became a father for the first time at the age of 56. Payne said that he loves to watch her sleep and hold her whenever she cries. At the same time, as Alexander Payne attends to the tiny humans, the five-inch-high characters of his most recent film, 'Downsizing.' This satire behind this film is the fact that the director has specialized in less realistic comedies in the past. They are likely set around his native home in Nebraska. The comedies usual focus on the crisis of American men who are disillusioned. 'Downsizing' is entirely different, and it’s a large-scale CGI-made comic fantasy with a story that takes the title literally. Payne worked with a close partner, Jim Taylor, and they both wondered what would actually happen if scientists used a technology developed by themselves to shrink humans.
Facts about Payne
He was excited about opening in Venice
Alexander Payne told Deadline that he was super excited about taking 'Downsizing' to open in Venice, though he had never attended the festival before. They had asked Payne to be on the jury in the past, but he wasn’t able to, because the timing had never worked for him before. However, Payne stated that he knew Alberto for over 27 years. Alberto is often referred to as the Venice Chief and he was the director of the festival in Turin in 1990 when Payne’s UCLA thesis film was accepted. It made him happy to have so much experience working with Alberto.
He was inspired by his co-writer
His co-writer Jim Taylor and one of his brothers had joked before with Payne on how life would be if they were able to shrink themselves. Their homes would be much more their spacious, food would be cheaper and so forth. Years after, he came back and asked Taylor how the film would work if it became the ultimate solution to overpopulation, as well as the answer to climate change. They both agreed that it might work and the story began to unfold. They thought that it was a pretty good premise for various reasons.
'Downsizing' was the first high technology movie he worked on
Payne said that 'Downsizing' was the first movie he did using visual effects and so he was educated on how to make one. In regard to the technology presented on-screen, its mostly the downsizing process itself that took a big chunk of it. It looks low-tech and that’s part of the comedy behind the film.
His net worth
Alexander Payne has a net worth of $25 million dillars, according to 'Celebrity Net Worth.' He has made his net worth from projects like 'The Descendants,' 'Sideways, 'About Schmidt, 'Nebraska' and 'Downsizing.'
Two terrific, smart guys, John Alan Simon and Alexander Payne. At the Writers Guild Salon this morning Alexander was the guest of honor and John moderated a free wheeling conversation about filmmaking, writing, film, storytelling, working with actors, comedy and drama. It was a deep dive not only in Alexander's filmmaking process, but with a shared knowledge in references to classic films that influenced them both, a lot of cinema history. Shout out to @wgawest Genre Committee co-chairs Dwayne Johnson-Cochran and Spiro Skentzos; Diversity Dept. staff Terry Lopez, Mai Tran-Lanza Tony Velarde. They filled our souls and our tummies with a tasty spread. 🎥 ✏️ 💡 🍳 #WGA #writing #directing #writerdirector #writer #director #election #aboutschmidt #citizenruth #sideways #downsizing #thedescendants #cinema #film #filmhistory #comedy #drama #johnalansimon #alexanderpayne #nofilter
We are all looking forward to watching more of Alexander Payne’s projects, but for now, we can get enough of a little Matt Damon in 'Downsizing.'