A sequel to Paul Giamatti's Oscar-nominated Sideways very nearly happened

"That's an automatic hit."

USA. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church  in a scene from the (C)Searchlight Pictures movie : Sideways (2004). Plot: Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle. Director: Alexander Payne  Ref: LMK110-J10431-080124 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church in the Oscar-nominated comedy Sideways. (Searchlight Pictures)

Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church were apparently close to reprising their Sideways characters Miles Raymond and Jack Cole for a sequel.

Released to the tune of five Oscar nominations in 2004 - beating the likes of Finding Neverland and Million Dollar Baby to the Best Adapted Screenplay statuette - Sideways was directed by Alexander Payne and follows two middle-aged pals on a week-long road trip to the vineyards of Santa Barbara County.

It's now regarded as one of the greatest movies of this century and while speaking to ComicBook recently, Jack actor Church admitted there was talk of a follow-up around the time of coronavirus.

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"There were some conversations about it probably three years ago," he said. "There were some conversations about maybe [coming back] but it's such a unique thing.

"You know, I never really spoke to Paul about it. We exchanged messages. I did talk to Alexander a little bit about it and then the producer Michael London and, of course, Searchlight [Pictures] was chomping to do it, you know, because that's an automatic hit. Especially with Alexander, Paul, and I together again.

"They pitched me the story of what they wanted us to do, which was a great idea and there was some talk about it but then it just sort of, I don't know, it just drifted away," Church recalled.

Paul Giamatti, left, Virginia Madsen, second from left, Sandra Oh and Thomas Hayden Church, right, hold the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture for their work in
The two leads with co-stars Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh at the 11th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2005. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

As for what this "great idea" for a sequel was, he chose not to elaborate, but original Sideways author Rex Pickett did pen two sequels titled Vertical and Sideways 3 Chile - both featuring Miles and Jack.

Meanwhile, Giamatti and Payne's latest cinematic collaboration is future Christmas classic The Holdovers. Mirroring the success of Sideways, it stands to win five Oscars at this weekend's ceremony, with the leading man going up against Cillian Murphy (for Oppenheimer) and Bradley Cooper (Maestro) in the Best Actor category.

Set in 1970, The Holdovers sees Giamatti as curmudgeonly classics teacher Paul Hunham, who must chaperone the boarding school students not going home for the Christmas holidays.

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