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Alexander Payne Reunites With Paul Giamatti for “The Holdovers”

Alexander Payne
Alexander Payne at the Thessaloniki Film Festival/Credit: Paul Katzenberger (Wikimedia Commons –CC BY-SA 4.0)

Greek-American director Alexander Payne recently cast Paul Giamatti in his new movie “The Holdovers.” Payne and Giamatti had previously collaborated on the director’s 2004 movie “Sideways.”

The Plot of “The Holdovers”

“The Holdovers” takes place in a prestigious private boarding school called Deerfield Academy. Giamatti plays Paul Hunham, a rigid, pretentious, and universally disliked professor.

Over winter break, the professor volunteers to stay back at the school to supervise any students who can’t go home. This leaves him with a 15-year-old troublemaker named Angus and the school’s head cook, Mary. This trio of characters with nothing in common are mostly trapped inside the academy over the holiday season and try to make the most of it.

As with most of Payne’s movies, “The Holdovers” will likely be an interesting character study with plenty of comedic and touching moments throughout the film.

Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti

Payne’s previous collaboration with Giamatti in “Sideways” won Payne an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, along with his co-writer Jim Taylor.

The director is very excited to be teaming up with Giamatti once again. He told “Deadline” that, “ever since (he) worked with Paul in Sideways, (he) wanted to work with him again, and this role is tailor-made for him.”

As for how he came up with the concept for the movie, Payne says he watched a classic French film that gave him the idea for putting this specific cast of characters in such a situation. But he didn’t know much about the world of private schools.

Then one day he “came across a writing sample for a pilot set in a prep school by David Hemingson.” Payne immediately called Hemingson and told him his idea for a plot set in a prep school environment. Hemingson was thrilled with the suggestion, and quickly wrote the script for “The Holdovers.”

Paul Giamatti in Hollywood

Giamatti has been keeping busy since his critically-acclaimed performance in “Sideways.” He is currently starring in Showtime’s very successful show “Billions,” alongside Damian Lewis and Maggie Siff.

In “Billions,” Giamatti plays US Attorney Chuck Rhoades. Rhoades goes up against a smart and ambitious hedge fund king named Bobby Axelrod (played by Lewis) to bring him down when criminal evidence comes up against him.

However, Axelrod’s wealth and influence make the process tricky, and the show gives viewers a window into a high-stakes world of wealth, power, and corruption. “Billions” has been on the air for five seasons so far.

Career-wise, Giamatti seems to only be going higher all the time. In 2021 alone, Giamatti has five different movies either in post-production or announced, including “The Holdovers.” Others include “Jungle Cruise,” “Gunpowder Milkshake,””San Andreas 2,” and “A Mouthful of Air,”

No release date has been set yet for “The Holdovers.”

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