|Alexander Payne Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 10 in|
|Date of Birth||February 10, 1961|
Alexander Payne is an Academy Award-winning American screenwriter, director, and producer. He is known for creating films like Citizen Ruth, Jurassic Park III, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants, Nebraska, and Downsizing. He is a fan of the works of filmmakers Akira Kurosawa, Luis Buñuel, Hal Ashby, Martin Scorsese, and Sergio Leone. Alexander has a double major in Spanish and History from Stanford University and has obtained his Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the UCLA Film School.
Alexander Constantine Papadopoulos
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
- Los Angeles, California, United States
- Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Alexander Payne completed his schooling from Brownell-Talbot School, Dundee Elementary School, Lewis and Clark Junior High, and Creighton Prep High School in Omaha, Nebraska, graduating in 1979.
Later, he attended Stanford University and did a double major in Spanish and History. He briefly attended Spain’s University of Salamanca as a part of his Spanish degree. After that, he joined the UCLA Film School and obtained his Master’s degree in Fine Arts in 1990.
Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer
- Father – George Payne (Restaurant Owner)
- Mother – Peggy Payne (Restaurant Owner)
- Siblings – He has 2 older brothers.
- Others – Nicholas/Nikos/Nick S. Papadopoulos/Payne (Paternal Grandfather), Spiro Papadopoulos (Paternal Great Grandfather), Georgia Michalopoulos (Paternal Great Grandmother), Clara Rose Hoffman/Hoffmann (Paternal Grandmother), Joseph Hoffmann, Sr. (Paternal Great Grandfather), Anna (Paternal Great Grandmother)
Alexander Payne is managed by Ad Hominem Enterprises, Production Company, Santa Monica, California, United States.
5 ft 10 in or 178 cm
74 kg or 163 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Alexander Payne has dated –
- Sandra Oh (2000-2006) – In 2000, Alexander started dating Canadian actress Sandra Oh. After dating for 3 years, the couple tied the knot on January 1, 2003. Sandra also starred in his film Sideways (2004). However, their relationship started to fall apart, and they started living separately in 2005. Their divorce was finalized on December 22, 2006.
- Maria Kontos (2015-Present) – In 2015, Alexander began a relationship with a young Greek philologist Maria Kontos. They met during his visit to his ancestor’s home in the Aigio region of Greece. The couple tied the knot in 2015 in a quiet ceremony. They became parents to a child in 2017.
Race / Ethnicity
He has 75% Greek and 25% German ancestry.
Salt and Pepper
- Thick wavy hair
- Slender figure
- Sharp pointed nose
Best Known For
Satirically depicting contemporary American society with dark humor in many of his films and for directing and writing his films including Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004), The Descendants (2011), Nebraska (2013), and Downsizing (2017)
In 2006, he made his theatrical debut in a cameo role as Oscar Wilde in the romantic comedy-drama film Paris, je t’aime.
First TV Show
In 1999, he made his first TV show appearance on the talk show Turn Ben Stein On.
Alexander Payne works out regularly. He practices yoga and often goes to the gym, where he lifts weights and works out on machines. Apart from that, he likes to swim, and best enjoy it in the ocean. In his younger days, he used to play a lot of tennis and racquetball.
Alexander Payne Favorite Things
- Filmmakers – Akira Kurosawa, Luis Buñuel, Hal Ashby, Martin Scorsese, and Sergio Leone
- Films Growing Up – Big Business (1929), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
Alexander Payne Facts
- He grew up in Dundee-Happy Hollow Historic District, around the same neighborhood as billionaire Warren Buffett.
- As a child, he read all of Roald Dahl and Steinbeck’s books.
- Growing up, the profession that he wanted to do was to become a projectionist.
- At the age of 5, he fell in love with films, and by the age of 25, he was certain of becoming a filmmaker.
- While studying at the Creighton Prep High School, he used to write a humor column for his high school newspaper and also served as the editor of their high school yearbook.
- His films are mostly made in and around Omaha, Nebraska.
- Phil Reeves is often cast in his films.
- He tends to use actual people like real-life police officers, restaurant servers, and teachers for minor character roles in his films.
- His family surname was changed by his paternal grandfather from “Papadopoulos” to “Payne”.
- Alexander owned the Winnebago that was driven by Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) in the film About Schmidt (2002).
- He is one of the shortlisted directors who have final cut rights to their films.
- He is good friends with David O. Russell.
- The reason behind projecting his hometown Omaha, Nebraska as the location of the main character in the film About Schmidt (2002) rather than New York City as compared to the novel was to give recognition to the “creative” people from the small Midwestern city.
- He graduated from film school at the age of 29.
- At the age of 35, he directed his first feature-length film.
- In 2013, he paid to have the silent Chaplin/”Little Tramp” film short The Adventurer (1917) restored and was shown at the Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy.
- He and Martin Scorsese have often been nominated for the “Best Director” Oscar category together several times: in 2005, Alexander was nominated for Sideways (2004) and Martin for The Aviator (2004), in 2012 Alexander was nominated for The Descendants (2011) and Scorsese for Hugo (2011), and then in 2014 when Alexander was nominated for Nebraska (2013), Martin was nominated for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
- Most of his full-length feature films have helped his male leads in achieving an Academy Award nomination – Jack Nicholson for About Schmidt (2002), Thomas Haden Church for Sideways (2004); George Clooney for The Descendants (2011), and Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013).
- In 2014, during an interview, he expressed his desire to work with Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Bérénice Bejo, and Jennifer Lawrence.
- He has worked with Laura Dern‘s parents on separate occasions – her mother Diane Ladd in Citizen Ruth (1996), and father Bruce Dern in Nebraska (2013).
- Director Chris Columbus has stated Alexander’s Sideways (2004) as “a 70s movie in contemporary times”.
- In 2013, he acted as the President of the ‘Official Competition’ jury at the 54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
- In 2018, he undertook the role of President of the ‘Official Competition’ jury at the 66th San Sebastian International Film Festival.
- He is one of the Board of Directors of a non-profit film theater, Film Streams in Omaha, Nebraska.
- He once co-owned a Chinese restaurant in Omaha called King Fong with friend Ann Beeder.
- Alexander has been a supporter of the social networking organization called Nebraska Coast Connection that meets monthly in Culver City, California.
- In 2005, he started working as a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Directors Branch).
- He has worked as an executive producer for TV series Hung from 2009 to 2011 and other films like Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014), The Savages (2007), and Gray Matters (2006), among others.
- He is not active on social media.
Featured Image by Kalligraf / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0