We’ll give this to Matt Damon, he’s got a real taste for SF. He was the best thing about Elysium, was the driving force behind the ’60s-style SF throwback The Adjustment Bureau, and he’s got The Martian as his next movie. Now Deadline claims he just signed on to Alexander Payne’s exceptionally strange SF take on overpopulation: Downsizing.
Payne is a name you probably know from your Oscar pool; he’s the director of movies like Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska. And he’s been knocking around this rather strange social satire for a little while. Here’s the plot summary from IndieWire:
“Downsizing takes place in a not-too-distant future where humans are now able to shrink themselves to 1/8 their size as a means to battle over-consumption and the rapid depletion of earth’s natural resources. […] Small people cash-in their savings and retire small; 1 big dollar equals 500 small dollars. Smalls live on less food, less land, and produce less trash. As the story progresses, Americans are free to get small, but in Europe, where resources are beginning to truly run out, legislation arises suggesting 40% of the population get shrunk (whether they like it or not).”
If you’re wondering why Europe has a sudden zeal to get tiny, cast your mind back to two years ago, when attempted austerity measures nearly ripped several countries apart. Payne isn’t shy about his social satire, as you may have noticed.
Mostly what I’m curious about are the special effects. Making somebody look tiny and preserve scale is a tougher challenge than you think; remember the elaborate tricks Peter Jackson had to get up to so Frodo and Gandalf could share a frame? Still, it’s a fascinating concept, and it will offend stuffy Europeans, so we’re on board.