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Dystopian Dramedy Bittersweet SciFi Adventure in Downsizing

From the Oscar-winning writer-director of The Descendants and Sideways, comes Paramount Pictures’ new quirky comedy Downsizing directed by Alexander Payne and starring Matt Damon.

The film will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas starting January 24.

Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small.

People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world. With the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha for a new downsized community, taking the irreversible leap that will trigger life-changing adventures when they become small.

“Beautiful. Funny. Heartbreaking.” That is how Matt Damon sizes up the story Director Alexander Payne co-wrote with Jim Taylor that drew him to the dystopian dramedy for our times, a bittersweet sci-fi adventure about an everyman given a second chance to live a meaningful life on his own terms.

It was actually Jim Taylor and his brother, Associate Producer Douglas Taylor, who came up with the initial concept.

“Doug imagined a process where you could shrink people and then ran the numbers to figure out things like how many tiny people you could feed with one hamburger,” recalls Jim. Kicking around the notion of less is more as the means to becoming a millionaire, their banter soon transformed into “an interesting premise for a movie.”

Payne began to stretch the context of that premise. “We reasoned that downsizing would become an international trend, so Jim and I wanted to give some sense of how it’s happening around the world, not just how it was affecting America,” he says. “Everything else started unfolding from there.”

Broadening the boundaries of the narrative’s scope meant emphasizing the universal nature of the film’s themes. “Our heroes are American, Vietnamese and Serbian. In the film, you’ll hear English, Vietnamese, Serbian, Spanish, Norwegian, Greek, Korean, Tagalog, Arabic, French and just for a moment, you’ll see American Sign Language,” he adds. “We didn’t set out to be a movie with lots of languages, but it served the story and the idea that Paul’s world gets bigger once he makes the choice to become smaller.”

Concludes Taylor, with “Downsizing we were interested in making a film that was more outward looking than some of our other films. We’ve always been drawn to the part of human nature where we blame other people for our own problems as opposed to taking responsibility.”

Downsizing is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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