EXCLUSIVE: An intriguing package coming together quickly: Fox Searchlight and Alexander Payne are in talks to  next team on The Judge’s Will. Conde Nast Entertainment will produce the film, which is based on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala‘s final published work for The New Yorker before she died. CNE will produce with Ad Hominem Enterprises, the company that Payne runs with Jim Burke and Jim Taylor.

Jhabvala, who teamed with Ismael Merchant and James Ivory on so many great films, wrote this story about the final moments in the chess game relationship between an ailing Delhi judge and his beautiful younger Bombay wife. Each has separate lives even though they live under the same roof and as he nears death, the judge wants to be sure that his even younger, barely educated mistress is cared for and not cast out. The story was published in March.

As usually happens when he makes a film, Payne is in the thick of Oscar conversation for his latest film Nebraska, the black and white road trip which stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte, and which will be released under Paramount Vantage. CAA reps him.