Alexander Payne - Oscars 2012: Alexander Payne Clears Up Confusion Over Descendants Script
Last night, Alexander Payne won an Oscar for his work writing the adapted screenplay for The Descendants. The script was based on the book by Kaui Hart Hemmings and Payne told reporters backstage that he owed much to his fellow writers, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who "paved the way" for him.
When asked what he decided to keep from their version of the script (the reporter asking the question insinuated that he had completely re-written the script, from the version that they had presented), he answered "They paved a path for me because they had been through the book quite a few times, they had done a number of drafts. I think the main things, you know, I've got to say in all honesty it was helpful for me to read their drafts both for what I kept and what I didn't keep. I was able to sort of they gave me the luxury to be able to pick and choose what I personally responded to." He added that he chose to focus on the relationship with the elder daughter, rather than the younger one and expressed regret that some of his favourite scenes didn't make it into the film: "Two items in particular which I did keep, neither of them, sadly, made it in the final film, the girl singing "that sh*t is bananas."
Another reporter asked Alexander what he had said in Hawaiian, in tribute to his mother, during his acceptance speech. He was quick to correct the reporter, explaining that it was, in fact, Greek, not Hawaiian. Perhaps with Sandra Bullock's Chinese / German gag earlier in the evening, the gathered crowd had started to get their languages a little muddled.