Alexander Payne began development on his then-next project, Downsizing, in 2009 before moving onto The Descendants. The troublesome social satire scripted by Payne and long-time writing partner Jim Taylor already had Paul Giamatti and Reese Witherspoon attached before it went belly-up. For whatever reason, 20th Century Fox were reluctant to invest in the story or its heavy use of CGI and lodged the flick into a permanent hiatus.
Late last year, the film underwent a shake-up. When news arrived that Matt Damon had relinquished his role in Zhang Zimou’s China-set epic, The Great Wall, in favour of the lead in Payne’s drama, the project returned to Fox’s development slate. Now, in a strange turn of events, Deadline reports that Witherspoon is back on board as the female lead. Together, the two will play a happily married couple who decide to shrink themselves out of financial concerns. Their logic? The smaller they become, the fewer outgoings they will have. This will mark the actress’s second collaboration with Payne after he directed her in the phenomenal 1999 black comedy, Election.
Considering Payne’s consistent dramedy leanings, it’s an enticing prospect that should see the filmmaker embracing CGI to tell this unusual tale. Earlier reports during the film’s initial splash hinted at a turn from Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen as a set of identical twins, but his name has not been mentioned in any recent posts.
For now, Witherspoon is caught up in a whirlwind of awards chatter after her nuanced turn as Cheryl Strayed in Wild, which may land her another serious nomination. She’s also wrapped up work on Don’t Mess With Texas, Anne Fletcher’s buddy comedy alongside Sofia Vergara, and is reportedly set to star in Paul Feig’s next comedy, Wish List. Where Downsizing will fit into her calendar also hinges on Damon’s schedule. He’s primed to reprise his Jason Bourne role this year, with work on Payne’s diminutive dramedy set to commence sometime later in 2015.