Alexander Payne is a famous director from Hollywood. He started his interest by making a film during his time at UCLA. This film was called “The Passion of Martin” way back in 1990. He got into the studio Universal just a few weeks later.
From there, he was making movies on the regular. This included Citizen Ruth in 1996, then movies like Election and Sideways going from 99 to 2004. One of his most famous, however, was definitely About Schmidt. This gave him a reputation for satirical comedies in film.
Alexander Payne has said that he tends to make his protagonists more like normal people since that’s what he was used to backing when he was watching movies during the 70s. It’s this aesthetic that he brought with him to Hollywood, keeping a grounded perspective while making movies satirical of many aspects of normal, everyday life with protagonists that you could walk by on the street.
Payne also goes on to say that as he increases his experience, he’s able to make his films so that the difference between real life and what you see on the screen in a film seems smaller and smaller. He is literally working with human behavior, and it’s possible to capture that realistically if you only focus on paying attention. He prefers aesthetics where he’s judged based on how close to real-life he’s able to get his movies, rather than how far away from normal life everything seems to be in general. However, all of that comes down to casting.