Matt Damon seems to be on a sci-fi streak at the moment: following his starring role in Elysium, his cameo in Interstellar, and his lead part in Ridley Scott’s upcoming The Martian, the actor has now signed up for a dystopian social satire called Downsizing. The film is being written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, who wrote the brilliant Sideways together, and directed by Payne, who directed Sideways and the equally magnificent The Descendants and Nebraska.
Deadline reported that the movie is about a man who realizes that his life would be better if he could actually shrink himself, but The Playlist has a much more detailed synopsis (see below) of the script, which first surfaced 10 years ago. Payne has apparently wanted to make the movie since then, but kept it on the back burner because of the scope and technology involved. The film was originally supposed to feature Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Gong Li back in the day.
This means that Damon will no longer appear in The Great Wall, a China-set movie being directed by Zhang Yimou, but a sci-fi satire from the writer/director of some of the sharpest character studies of the past decade must have been too good to pass up.
Downsizing…starts off in Norway and 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, thanks to enlightened hippie-like Scandinavian scientists. “Smalls” get small, then become members of small cities (the main characters moves to a city called Leisureland) protected by large nets (keeps the bugs out) and built like Disney’s Celebration Town (all planned, all pre-fabricated). Small people cash in their savings and retire small; one 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). For the big, the world grows smaller and scarier; for the small, the world grows bigger and scarier.