Emma Stone and Ralph Fiennes have been cast in Alexander Payne’s The Menu. Throughout his acclaimed career, Payne has typically focused on the smaller side of life – at least in terms of setting, with much of his work taking place in small town, rural settings, while still managing to tackle larger scale issues.
Most recently, Payne literally focused on the smaller side of life with the Matt Damon led Downsizing. Although the film didn’t quite hit the mark with either audiences or critics, it showed another side of Payne as a filmmaker, away from the stripped down deadpan comedy that he’d become known for. Downsizing had its own creative charms, however, envisioning a future where people are shrunk down to microscopic size in order to take up less room on an increasingly overcrowded and unaffordable planet. And although the film failed to garner the acclaim that his past Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning works have had, Payne has put it all behind him and moved on to his latest project, The Menu.
Things have been relatively quiet since The Menu was announced this past February. Now, however, Deadline is reporting that Stone and Fienne have formally signed on to star in the project. Fiennes is reportedly set to play an illustrious chef in the film, with Stone making up half of the couple that's eager to try out Fiennes' latest culinary efforts.
Originally billed as a comedic horror-thriller, The Menu follows a foodie couple as they travel to an exotic, high-end restaurant on a tropical island. The chef (Fiennes) is renowned for his mouth-watering creations, but once the couple arrive and the cooking begins, what should have been an idyllic getaway turns into something far more shocking. While the film originally had Will Ferrell and Adam McKay onboard as producers, it's not clear if that's still the case, in the wake of their recently-announced amicable split ways after 13 years of working together under the Gary Sanchez Productions banner. As far as the rest of team behind The Menu is concerned, however, everything appears to be running along smoothly, though the movie has yet to receive an official release date.
Now that Payne’s latest has nabbed two huge stars in Stone and Fiennes, the film should have exactly the sort of traction it requires to draw in other bigger name stars, as well as financial support from the likes of Paramount. As is always the case in Hollywood, nothing is ever set in stone no matter how certain things might appear. Still, when it comes to a filmmaker like Payne and the A-list stars he’s able to attract, it likely won’t be long before The Menu has everything it needs.