Update: Alexander Payne has spoken to ComingSoon.net and said that he has optioned this story but doesn't know when he'll make it. "'The Judge's Will' is a beautiful story I optioned a few months ago," Payne said. "Why it came to light this week that I optioned it, I have no idea. I have no idea what I'm going to do next. That’s all wrong. The curtain of truth is that I optioned that story, but I don't know when I'm gonna do it."
He’s currently scoring positive buzz for his latest drama, Nebraska, but Alexander Payne’s brain is already itching for the next challenge. He’s currently in talks with Fox Searchlight about tackling The Judge’s Will.
Any eventual script will be based on regular Merchant Ivory writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s final article for The New Yorker, which was published in March. The story concerns an ailing judge in Delhi and his struggle to ensure that his much younger mistress is cared for after his death.
The twist here is that he and his wife were essentially living separate lives, but that she’s still largely in control of his will. So begins a struggle between the couple.
Given that Payne is still just locking down the project, there are no details on casting or even a writer yet. Nebraska, meanwhile, which stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte, is out on December 6. You can get a look at the trailer below, or if you're lucky it's screening at the BFI London Film Festival, which starts today.