Alexander Payne’s Downsizing is set to hit the festival scene later this month with a premiere at Venice before moving on to TIFF, and now the first image has been released. The upcoming dramedy takes place in a world where Norwegian scientists have solved overcrowding by being able to shrink people down to the size of action figures. A married couple decides they want to give it a go, but at the last minute, one of them bails, leaving the other small and a little annoyed.
Speaking to EW, Payne said that while he and frequent collaborator Jim Taylor wrote the script between Sideways and The Descendants, it took a while to make because of the financing required for the special effects. “I was told a couple of times, and not in my words, it’s too intelligent to justify the budget it requires,” says Payne.
Payne goes on to describe the film as in the vein of the dark sci-fi series Black Mirror:
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.
He also says that the film will look at environmentalism and immigration, but that he doesn’t want to say too much on those topics because he wants the film to do the talking. Additionally, while those themes weren’t at the forefront of his mind when he wrote the script, recent events have only served to make the movie more relevant.
Downsizing opens December 22nd and stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Laura Dern, Jason Sudeikis, and Neil Patrick Harris.