Is Alexander Payne shelving his high concept "Downsizing"
midgets little people comedy that was potentially special effects-heavy?
Last we heard, the film had hit budgets snags, as the characters in the film had to actually become miniaturized and presumably that meant a lot of expensive CGI work. So this means this Production Weekly report might be legit.
According to a report on their Twitter feed, Payne is set to begin filming an adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings' "The Descendants" in January 2010. Scripted by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the novel is a tragicomedy that centers on the story of an attorney who finds himself at a crossroads in his life and takes a trip with his two daughters.
Here's what Publisher's Weekly said about the novel.
Hemmings's bittersweet debut novel, an expansion of her first published short story ("The Minor Wars," from House of Thieves and originally published in StoryQuarterly), stars besieged and wryly introspective attorney Matt King, the land-rich descendant of Hawaiian royalty and American missionaries and entrepreneurs. He wrestles with the decision of whether to keep his swath of valuable inherited land or sell it to a real estate developer. But even more critical, Matt also has to decide whether to pull the plug on his wife, Joanie, who has been in an irreversible coma for 23 days following a boat-racing accident. Then Matt finds out that Joanie was having an affair with real estate broker Brian Speer, impelling him to travel with his two daughters—precocious 10-year-old Scottie and fresh from rehab 17-year-old Alex—from Oahu to Kauai to confront Brian. Matt finds out the truth about Joanie and Brian, which influences his decision about what to do with his family's on-the-block land and complicates his plans for Joanie. Matt's journey with his girls forms the emotional core of this sharply observed, frequently hilarious and intermittently heartbreaking look at a well-meaning but confused father trying to hold together his unconventional family.It definitely sounds like it's in the vein of Payne's smaller-scale, satirical and more character-driven pictures like, "Election," and "Citizen Ruth," and more importantly it is a legit project that Fox Searchlight bought the rights to in 2007 and the project was announced with Payne attached in Variety at the time. Payne has a first look deal at Searchlight where "Downsizing" was going to be made at.
Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon, Sacha Baron Cohen and Meryl Steep were all apparently loosely attached to "Downsizing," but it might be a picture that has to wait until the economy and worrisome film industry climate changes.