When I first read on Empire that Alexander Payne was looking at a project called Wilson for his next film, I thought to myself that finally, finally somebody was going to take a long overdue deeper look at the always obscured, wisdom filled neighbor from Home Improvement. But then I read a little further and realized that’s not what this project is going to be at all. I was disappointed. But then I read a little further and realized that what this project is could be even better.
“Wilson” is a graphic novel created by Daniel Clowes, who film fans will probably recognize as being the guy who wrote “Ghost World,” another comic that went on to become a Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi-starring feature film. That film was much loved, so much so that the Clowes and Terry Zwigoff penned screenplay was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar at The Academy Awards that year. Seeing as Clowes is once again working on the adaptation for this project, and Ghost World had a dry, biting sense of humor that seems to fit very well with Payne’s sensibilities, it looks like this could be a project to watch.
The Amazon description for “Wilson” reads:
“Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friend and stranger alike into a series of one-sided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discursions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humor. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family—a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.”
Zounds, that sounds like an Alexander Payne film already. Before he begins work on this one though, Payne still has quite a bit of business to attend to. His latest film The Descendants has already tore up the festival circuit, but it’s yet to get its theatrical release, so there’s probably a bunch of publicity work he has to do there. And before he begins work on Wilson he’s already got a project called Nebraska that’s next in line, which Payne says is still on but will probably go through a name change. It’s good to hear that one of my favorite working directors has so much upcoming stuff to look forward to, almost makes me forget it’s been raining for three days straight.