In general, colorized TV versions of films have fallen out of favor alongside their black-and-white older siblings. But when a director does choose to make his or her movie in black and white, studio executives often insist on making a backup color version, so the common folk won’t be frightened by the strange, alien world drained of color they see on their televisions.
Such was the case with Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, which was always intended to be shot in black and white (costumes and locations were designed based on a greyscale palette), but was also transferred into a heavily color-corrected version supervised by Payne himself. The color version was part of a TV deal necessary to secure funding for the film, but as Payne told Variety last year:
“Eventually I said, ‘I’ll even give you a colored version for those specific TV outlets in Moldova and Sierra Leone and Laos or wherever.’ So I made a color version. I hope no one ever sees it.”
But now a lot of people—people with fancy cable packages, anyway— are going to see it as a special “World Color Premiere” on Epix. When /Film contacted Payne and producer Albert Berger about the premiere, neither of them were aware that Epix would be showing the color version of the film, which must have been quite a shock. Still, they should take heart, because nobody gets Epix anyway.
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