Alexander Payne and Reese Witherspoon haven’t worked together since 1999’s Election, the comedy about high school student elections that gave us Chris Klein. But Deadline is reporting that Witherspoon has signed up to play the wife to Matt Damon’s shrinking husband in Payne’s next film, Downsizing.
The movie is based on a script by Payne and writing partner Jim Taylor (they shared an Oscar for Sideways.) They’ve been working on the film since Sideways, but the story was shelved. (The concept no doubt involves a lot of special effects that they weren’t ready to deal with.) Originally Paul Giamatti was considered for Damon’s role.
Witherspoon has been involved with the project off and on since 2009. Sacha Baron Cohen and Meryl Streep were also originally attached to the film, but there’s no word if they or their characters survived the recent draft of the script. The hope right now is that Downsizing will begin production just as soon as Damon’s obligation to film another Bourne movie is fulfilled.
Downsizing is a satire about battling over-consumption and over-population. The lead character decides to participate in a project to shrink himself to 1/8th his size, in order to help the environment. (Shrinking yourself doesn’t shrink your wallet, though, as $1 = 500 “small dollars.”) The original script, which IndieWire apparently read back in 2009, was less a wry comedy and more of a drama.
Since the next Bourne project isn’t supposed to be released until the summer of 2016, I have some ideas how to speed up production for Downsizing. The “Smalls” live in a city made for very little people called “Leisuretown,” which makes me think of Idiocracy crossed with Pleasantville, which of course was another Witherspoon movie. Perhaps they should draw on Legally Blondes 1 and 2 and replace Matt Damon with Luke Wilson. Then they can film right away, because other than a pilot for Showtime with Cameron Crowe, Luke Wilson has free time. Plus, Reese Witherspoon’s only like five feet tall to begin with, so digitally shrinking her should take less time, right?