Considering the conversation around "Nebraska," it surprised me when Bruce Dern was not at the press day for the new Alexander Payne film. Having said that, the three actors who were there were great interviews, and it's obvious how much the film means to them when you hear them talk about it.

For Will Forte, this is a redefinition, and I'm excited to see what it does for him overall. I feel like I might have phrased something wrong to him when I said that there were a lot of guys up for the role. What I really meant was that the script was a favorite for a lot of actors, and there were a ton of people who wanted to play that part and who pushed to get into the room with Payne. I think Forte's been under-utilized in general, which seems like a weird thing to say about a guy who works as hard as he does.

June Squibb is one of those actors who has been working for decades, but who has never really had that breakthrough role, and she seems to be enjoying the conversation about "Nebraska" enormously. It helped that when I walked in, she was paired with Bob Odenkirk, who I've known for years at this point.

What really strikes me about the ensemble that Payne put together is that he's not really interested in just working with movie stars. Sure, "The Descendants" starred George Clooney, but I honestly think Payne casts based on the role and not just based on some math equation.

"Nebraska" is the sort of film that doesn't have any special effects or giant high concept set pieces, entirely dependent on your investment in the characters, and Payne put together a heck of a cast to make that happen. Here's hoping you enjoy the conversation with them as much as I enjoyed having it.

"Nebraska" opens this Friday.

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.