Less than 24 hours before it was to shoot, Alexander Payne's new film at Netflix has halted production, Collider and Deadline reported Friday. The movie was set to star Mads Mikkelsen. It was a father-daughter road trip movie. Mikkelsen would play a Danish journalist who takes a road trip with his teenage daughter across the U.S. as he writes a story for a newspaper.
With so many terrible things going on in Hollywood, it would be safe to assume that some sort of sordid controversy stopped the movie from going forward. Thankfully, that was not the case. Deadline, in its usual snark, reports:
“I’ve heard that the subject of the film, journalist Karl Ove Knausgard, was left with an "out" and had a change of heart about having his story turned into a feature. Attempts were made to pull the film back on track, to no avail. The rights to the movie fell apart and now Netflix has nothing. I can only assume Knausgard saw Downsizing and thought, “Noooooooooope.” (SIGH.)
That can be the trouble with biopics, however. If your lead does not want their story told, then you do not get to tell it.
The movie was a promising follow-up for Payne, whose last film -- 2017's Downsizing -- was a costly critical and box office disappointment for both distributor Paramount and the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Payne has some stone-cold classics on his resume, including Election and About Schmidt. But losing out on the Nebraska filmmaker's latest film doesn't service anyone. Especially audiences.
Here is hoping Netflix and Payne can find a way to make this project happen again down the line, or put an entirely new movie together.