Alexander Payne's next project will see the acclaimed director move from Nebraska, where his first three films were set, to California.

Payne is adapting an as-yet unpublished novel called Sideways by Rex Pickett and will direct the ensuing film which as yet is not set up at any company.

A comedy about two San Diego men who go on a wine tasting vacation, Payne describes it as "a jolly look at pathetic people." The film-maker is in Cannes this week to promote his latest film About Schmidt which stars Jack Nicholson and which will play in competition.

New Line Cinema fully financed the film and it marks the first New Line film selected for competition at Cannes in the studio's 30 year-plus history.