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First Look: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and some tiny people in Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing

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Downsizing is a new science fiction comedy-drama written and directed by Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and co-written by Jim Taylor. The film stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis and Laura Dern.

In an overpopulated world, scientists shrink humans to pocket size as part of a master plan to minimize all of mankind over the course of 300 years. For one couple, the prospect is enticing — though, at the last minute, one-half of a seemingly steadfast pair backs out of the deal.

EW had this new image and Alexander Payne had this to say about the film.

Downsizing imagines what might happen if overpopulation and climate change [prompt] Norwegian scientists to discover how to shrink people down to five inches tall and propose, very earnestly, the population’s two-to-three-hundred-year transition from big to small.

Jim Taylor and his brother had been kicking around the idea for a while. They were thinking oh, if you were only so big, you could have a huge house on a huge lot of only eight square feet! When Jim and I decided to do something with the idea, we saw it in more political terms… I don’t want it to sound too much like a political movie. We’re more interested in making human films. Humans are involved in politics, so we thought this story was an interesting prism through which to view our times.

This film was very difficult for us, and it was the reason why there was a long gap for me between Sideways and The Descendants. We spent a lot of time trying to perfect this screenplay. We don’t choose [when to make a film], it’s when we get financing [and] we couldn’t get financing for it. We also hadn’t quite cracked the screenplay yet; so as painful as that was in hindsight, I’m glad the film was made when it was made.

The basic premise is a very delicious one, and it’s the premise that saw Jim and me through the many years to get this made… it’s very much like the previous movie Jim and I did, in that it takes something inherently absurd and ridiculous, but tells it with utter earnestness… kind of like what you see in Black Mirror. Some episodes of Black Mirror take a premise and run with it, but I’m not interested in the science fiction feeling; I always aspire to make a Hal Ashby or a Robert Altman movie, and the plot has a certain episodic structure.

The film is due out in December 2017.

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