05/15/2012 06:29 pm ET

Will Forte, Bruce Dern Wanted For Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska'

Will Forte and Bruce Dern could head to "Nebraska." That's the word from Deadline.com, which reports that director Alexander Payne wants the two actors for his new drama. (THR.com confirmed the news.)

About a father and son who head out on a road trip after the elder man thinks he's won a Publisher's Clearing House-like contest, "Nebraska" would be Payne's follow-up to the Best Picture-nominated "The Descendants." Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall were among the initial names surrounding the project.

"That's all bullshit," Payne told Moviefone last year when asked about the casting rumors. "It's true that we have talked about those actors, but no offer has been made."

Earlier this year, Payne told HuffPost Entertainment that "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston was also out of the running.

"He's auditioned already," Payne said of Cranston. "I don't think he's right for the part, but he's an astonishing actor, that guy."

Should Forte close his deal to star in "Nebraska" it would be a major departure for the comic actor, who previously worked on "Saturday Night Live" and has a recurring role on "30 Rock" as Jenna Maroney's kinky boyfriend. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time Payne went off the beaten path to cast one of his films. "The Descendants" featured a strong supporting performance from "Secret Life of the American Teenager" star Shailene Woodley, as well as an appearance from Upright Citizens Brigade veteran Rob Huebel.

"It is sort of intimidating," Huebel told Movieline about being cast by Payne. "First I was a little bit concerned about it. But those guys -- people at that level, Payne and [George] Clooney -- they know what they're doing. When you get there, they make you feel so comfortable that you don't have to worry about anything. Alexander said something like the first day we were on set. Like, 'I don't want anyone to be nervous or remotely uptight about this, because I cast you and you're in the movie because you're a great person and I see you as this character in this movie. So from here on out let's just have fun and enjoy each other.' So nerves go away then. You don't think, 'Whoa, this could be really great!' You don't worry about what might be with the movie, you just try to enjoy yourself and do a good job."

For more on Forte and Dern's possible casting, head over to Deadline.com.

[via Deadline.com]

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