Promotional feature with Paramount
Director Alexander Payne is no stranger to a good cast. He’s worked with Jack Nicholson, Reese Witherspoon and George Clooney, just to name a few. The cast for his new film, Downsizing, is among the best he’s ever assembled. The story of a world in which people are being shrunk in order to solve an overpopulated planet, Downsizing mixes Oscar-winning megastars with brand new talent. Meet a few of them.
Oscar-winner Damon plays Paul Safranek. Paul opts to be ‘downsized’, meaning he will be shrunk to the size of an action figure and begin a new life in Leisureland, a utopian city where, for most, money is no longer a concern. A man who’s barely getting by in the real world can be a millionaire in Leisureland, where tiny things cost tiny sums. Paul believes that his life in Leisureland will be one without worry, where he can enjoy every day and become the man he wants to be. He’s only kind of right.
Wiig is Audrey Safranek, Paul’s wife. She’s a bit shaky on the whole Leisureland idea, but she sees the benefits. She loves Paul and wants their life together to be happy, even if that means being tiny. It’s a role that mixes comedy and more dramatic elements for Wiig, who has been growing in stature as an actress over recent years, with big success in comedies such as Bridesmaids, but has also been showing her more dramatic side in films such as The Martian.
Downsizing is Hong Chau’s breakthrough role. She may be the least famous member of the main cast, but she gives a performance that has brought her a ton of attention and saw her nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She plays Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese woman who comes to Leisureland in an unusual way and changes Paul’s life in ways he could never have imagined.
You can always rely on Waltz to do weird brilliantly. He won Oscars for playing very strange men in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. He adds another misfit to his roster with the odd, hilarious Dušan, a man who makes sure he enjoys every second of his life in Leisureland, throwing huge parties and doing exactly as he pleases. Waltz brings his unique style of comedy to the film in an unforgettable role.
Outside the main cast, Downsizing includes some phenomenally talented people and very famous faces in supporting roles and cameos. Laura Dern and Neil Patrick Harris pop up as Leisureland residents. Jason Sudeikis is the friend who persuades Paul and Audrey to take the leap. Margo Martindale makes an appearance. Even James Van Der Beek, AKA Dawson of Dawson’s Creek, has a cameo. It’s a movie in which you spend a lot of time saying, “Wait, wasn’t that…?” Small town, very very big cast.