Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon are looking to get involved in the next project from Alexander Payne (Director of Sideways and About Shmidt)
According to Variety, Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon have signed on to star in Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.” Giamatti will play a man who decides to escape his economic woes by undergoing a process to shrink himself. Depending on which Variety story you read, Witherspoon either plays a woman he meets after shrinkage, or his wife who decides to stay normal sized at the last minute. Cohen will employ his manic comedic skills and play a dual role: a tiny Spaniard, and his normal sized brother and business partner.
No one will be officially signed until Payne (”Sideways”) finishes his screenplay, which he is penning alongside Jim Taylor. Variety is predicting some doom and gloom when it comes to where the film will find its financing. Payne has a first-look deal with Fox Searchlight, but the special effects budget may be too big for the studio to manage.
On the surface this movie sounds like a screwball comedy in the vein of 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' especially considering the involvement of the oft-zany Cohen, but looking at the writer/director's previous work shows that ultra-realism is his forte. It will be interesting to see if he can combine that 'Sideways' style of dry humor (which I loved incidentally) with a 'Fantastic Voyage' style adventure movie in the micro scale. Keep an eye on this project.