Alexander PayneAlexander Payne is a two-time award-winning filmmaker. He makes movies to realize his vision and explores the shared human experience. He has a way to make his audience invest in his average characters whether the role is being played by an unknown actor or a famous one. Alexander Payne says he doesn’t work alone. He has a great casting director John Jackson.

Jim Taylor co-wrote five of the seven famous films that Alexander Payne directed. Alexander had a two-bedroom apartment and decided to rent one room. Jim Taylor was the one who moved in and they started writing together. Jim says that the technique they learned is not letting their ego get in the way of writing a script. This has made them able to work together for many years, unlike other teams. He says that they act like a married couple and ultimately get along and enjoy working together.

Payne looks for actors who are “funny, dramatic, and also surprising”. He doesn’t have his favorites and everyone must go through the audition process even if the actor is famous. He doesn’t watch a lot of movies and so fully relies on casting to tell him what actors are there. He encourages everyone to come for auditions.

Alexander’s goal is to direct a movie that he would also enjoy watching. He explains that when his actors are on set, he watches them as if they are being projected on a screen. It makes it easier to identify the problems, what should be added, or any other adjustments.

Payne counts himself lucky to work with great actors in his career. He says that there is a knife edge balance between hiring unknown actors and famous ones to secure funding. “When the budget is relatively high, you will need someone who is both an actor and a star.”

Alexander PaynePayne says that the pressure in making a great movie is mostly from himself. He is currently filming The Holdovers in Massachusetts. It is the first time he is reuniting with actor Paul Giamatti since their Oscar win on Sideways. He says that they have been wanting to make a movie together again and have finally gotten an opportunity. He says that the role was made for Giamatti.