Giamatti, Baron Cohen, Witherspoon to star
Alexander Payne is putting the finishing touches on the social satire “Downsizing,” a script about miniature people, and has put together a big-name cast.Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon have all committed to star in the film, which would likely land at Fox Searchlight, where Payne has a first-look deal. Project marks Payne’s first feature helming job since 2004’s “Sideways,” which was also a Searchlight pic. Giamatti, who teamed with the director on “Sideways,” is aboard to star as a man low on money who decides he can have a much nicer life if he undergoes a process to shrink himself. Witherspoon, whose career took off after starring in Payne’s “Election,” would play a woman Giamatti meets on his journey as a miniature person. Baron Cohen would play a pint-sized foreigner. There are no deals in place for the three principals, and no negotiations will take place until Payne finishes his screenplay, which he is penning with Jim Taylor. Jim Burke is producing alongside Payne. Unlike previous Payne pics, “Downsizing” would require considerable special effects and could push the budget out of Searchlight’s realm.