Paul Giamatti is in Massachusetts to film ‘The Holdovers’

Giamatti is working with director Alexander Payne on their first movie together since the Oscar-winning "Sideways."

Paul Giamatti (seen here in "The Illusionist") is in Massachusetts filming "The Holdovers," a new movie directed by Alexander Payne. Glen Wilson/Yari Film Group, File Photo

Almost two decades after collaborating on the Oscar-winning film “Sideways,” actor Paul Giamatti (“Billions”) and director Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”) are together again, filming a new movie in Massachusetts.

The pair are in the state to film “The Holdovers,” a comedy-drama which stars Giamatti as Paul Hunham, a universally disliked professor at prep school Deerfield Academy.

According to a plot synopsis obtained by Deadline, the film takes place over the Christmas holidays in 1970, where Paul is tasked with supervising students staying at the school over break. Eventually, the only “holdovers” left at the school are Paul, Deerfield’s head cook Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “Empire”), and a 15-year-old troublemaking student named Angus.


Filming is already underway and is expected to last through March. There’s no word on whether Payne and Co. are filming at the real-life elite prep school of the same name in Deerfield, but film crews will reportedly be shooting at Fairhaven High School in Fairhaven, St. Marks School in Southborough, and several locations in Clinton.

“The Holdovers” is familiar territory for Giamatti, a Connecticut native whose father was a Yale professor and whose mother taught at a Connecticut boarding school. Giamatti also attended multiple boarding schools in Connecticut before graduating from Yale.

“I came across a writing sample for a pilot set in a prep school by David Hemingson,” Payne told Deadline. “I called [Giamatti], told him the idea, and he jumped at it. Ever since I worked with Paul in Sideways, I’ve wanted to work with him again, and this role is tailor made for him.”

Beyond “The Holdovers,” Giamatti can currently be seen in the Showtime drama “Billions.” He recently starred in a trio of 2021 films: Indie drama “A Mouthful of Air,” Disney action-adventure film “Jungle Cruise,” and action-thriller “Gunpowder Milkshake.”

“The Holdovers” will be Payne’s first directorial effort since the 2017 Matt Damon film “Downsizing.” Before that, Payne won screenplay Oscars for “Sideways” and “The Descendants” and was nominated for his directing work on “Nebraska” and his screenplay for “Election.”


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