Epix to show the color version of Nebraska despite Alexander Payne's wishes

One of the best films to come out last year was Alexander Payne’s fantastic black and white film NEBRASKA. The story is about a booze-addled father played masterfully by Bruce Dern that makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I urge you to do so immediately.

A lot of people have suggested that the film’s black and white color is a statement about the world the characters live in; the ones left behind in America. Needless to say, whatever you think the color represents, it was a beautiful touch and a part of the art that director Alexander Payne put into his work. Sadly, a lot of people don’t’ want to watch black and white films (overseas), so Payne obliged and made a color version.

Payne said to Variety last year:

Eventually I said, ‘I’ll even give you a colored version for those specific TV outlets in Moldova and Sierra Leone and Laos or wherever.’ So I made a color version. I hope no one ever sees it.

Now he's as surprised as the rest of us to hear that this version he wished to be buried will air in the U.S. on Sunday.

TOH reports that the premium channel Epix is airing TV spots with the following message:

“Nominated for six Academy awards, including Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Cinematography, experience Alexander Payne’s masterful black and white vision, and for the first time, Epix brings you the full color version for a limited time showing. See Nebraska in two totally different states. Sunday at 8 p.m., followed by the world premiere of the color version, exclusively on Epix. We get big movies.”

Co-producer on the film Albert Berger told TOH that he and Payne didn’t know Epix was going to air the color version and “their contract with Paramount — which financed and released the film — precluded most major showings, including theatrical and DVD/Blu-Ray – from being anything other than the black-and-white original version.” Berger also said that even though this color version was only supposed to be shown to smaller foreign markets, Payne “did personally supervise the post-production of the color version despite hoping it never would be seen.”

I don’t know what Epix is; maybe that’s a U.S. only racket? I’m Canadian so we still get our pet Bear to hold up the antenna to get a clear picture. Their tagline, “We get big movies” is pretty clear; they certainly don’t get the small movies. Perhaps it’s an oversight, but this doesn't seem right to me at all and I don't consider myself to be a movie snob. The movie was designed for black and white cinematography; you wouldn’t straighten out a Picasso would you?

What do you guys think about this ordeal?

Extra Tidbit: Did you ever see the colorized versions of Casablanca or It’s A Wonderful Life? Awful.
Source: TOH



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