Matt Damon is one of the biggest movie stars of his generation, but you could arguably make the case that his career isn’t shining as brightly as it was years earlier. Outside of his supporting role in Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit in 2010, his post-Bourne résumé mainly sports projects that were underwhelming (Monuments Men) or widely ignored (Promised Land).
However, things seem to be looking up for the Oscar-winner. He’s currently working on Ridley Scott’s The Martian (set for release November 2015) and may end up reuniting with his old friend Paul Greengrass for a new Bourne installment to arrive in 2016. Now, Damon has notched another role for a well-respected director – in this case, Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) – by joining the satirical science fiction project known as Downsizing.
Deadline, which broke the story, is reporting that Damon will star in Downsizing as a man who realizes that his existence would be better if he shrunk himself. Other details are not known at this point, but Payne did pen the script with his longtime collaborator Jim Taylor, which is a very promising development. The two won an Oscar for their work on Sideways and also worked together on the script for Payne’s acclaimed About Schmidt.
Damon signing on means that he will not be able to participate in Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall, a film for which he was previously rumored for. The actor will be quite busy over the next couple of years, but the prospect of working with a filmmaker like Payne – still very much at the top of his game after winning a second Academy Award for his Descendants script in 2011 and earning a Best Director nomination for last year’s Nebraska – was apparently too good to pass up, so Damon had to create free time somehow.
It’s always an exciting proposition when an established auteur decides to step out of his or her comfort zone and challenge themselves as an artist – a scenario that sounds like it’s playing out here. Payne has always had a knack for biting social commentary and dark humor, so Downsizing will still fit in his wheelhouse; albeit through a different lens than his fans are accustomed to.
With the film in such early stages of development, there’s no timetable for when production may start on Downsizing right now. The Martian is still in pre-production and there’s still no word on when/if Bourne 5 will actually happen, so working around Damon’s schedule might be an issue. That said, with a star now on board and an awards-caliber director calling the shots, Fox (the studio behind Downsizing) will want to move forward quickly and get it in theaters soon. (Maybe even by late 2015?)
We’ll keep you updated on the development of Downsizing as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.