Alexander Payne Ditches Downsizing, Picks Up The Descendants
Back in March we brought you early casting news on Sideways director Alexander Payne's latest project called Downsizing, a movie about little people starring, well, big people (Sacha Baron Cohen, Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon). This was supposedly going to be his next project, however Production Weekly (via The Playlist) is now reporting that Payne starts shooting in January on an adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings' darkly humorous novel The Descendants instead. So does that mean Downsizing has been shelved for the time being? It sounds like it, especially considering Fox had budget problems as well.
So what is The Descendants all about? The novel was adapted by actors-turned-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash and ended up in the #21 spot on the 2008 Black List last year. Here's the short plot description for The Descendants: "A newly widowed father, also one of the richest men in Oahu, Hawaii, takes off with his two rebellious daughters to track down his dead wife's ex-lover on the island of Kauai." Sounds like the perfect comedy for Payne to take on. No casting has been announced yet, but I'm sure we'll hear something soon. Oddly, Payne is only listed as the producer on IMDb, so we're not sure if this news is completely accurate.
What is it with dark comedies being set in Hawaii these days? Besides this one, there's the new Cameron Crowe project called Volcano Romance that is set in Hawaii, too. Not that I have a problem with that, as Hawaii is a lovely place, but that thought was just on my mind. Anyway, as for The Descendants, it sounds like it could be fun, whereas Downsizing seemed like something better suited for the Farrelly Brothers or David Zucker, so I'm glad to hear this news. Hopefully it all turns out to be true, but right now the details are all a bit sketchy, and I'm already worried that Production Weekly could be wrong. We'll let you know!
Oh good. I hadn't read Downsizing yet. Now I don't have to. I've read The Descendents (the script) It starts out nice. A detached father trying to reunite with his weird grade-school daughter and model-looks late-teens other daughter, over a tragedy. But it kind of loses its way after awhile, and we're not sure why we're on the journey anymore. The little girl role is a star-making one, and will delight indie audiences. Other than that, there isn't much here.
Scriptshadow on Aug 10, 2009
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