Release date: December 25, 2017
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Written by: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Produced by: Alexander Payne, Mark Johnson
Genre: Drama
Running time: 2h 15min

Kristen Wiig as: Audrey Safranek
Other cast: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis

When scientists find a way to shrink humans to five inches tall, Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to ditch their stressed out lives in order to get small and live large in a luxurious downsized community. Filled with life-changing adventures and endless possibilities, Leisureland offers more than riches, as Paul discovers a whole new world and realizes that we are meant for something bigger.

Production Notes

When audiences meet Paul, he is an in-house occupational therapist at Omaha Steaks who helps people with repetitive injuries, “just a very good, conscientious guy who married pretty early,” says Damon of his character. “Kristen (Wiig) plays my wife Audrey. You get a complete picture of who her character is very quickly. They can’t quite make it in Omaha. This idea of downsizing starts to look more and more appealing. One thing after another starts to convince them maybe this is for them. (Paul) feels somewhat responsible for Audrey. He tends to just cave and give her what he knows she wants, even if it isn’t necessarily the right thing for him. He’s always taking care of other people at a cost to himself. It’s in his character to be helpful. He’s one of those nice guys that’s taken advantage of constantly, in small ways and big ways, because everybody sees him for what he is.”

Damon continues: “He knows Audrey’s not happy. He’s told you can’t buy this house. Your credit isn’t good enough, put a bigger down payment down. He hung in and did the right thing like he always does. Now he doesn’t have the career he wanted. He knows he’s a disappointment to Audrey.”

As for the unhappy Audrey, Wiig relished playing the role. “I feel like when you meet Audrey she’s probably not at the top of her game,” concedes Wiig. “She’s not too happy.”

Payne says he and Taylor conceived Audrey “as a nice enough person but she’s a little self-involved. Demanding.” He continues, “I always enjoy casting funny people to play more serious parts. I was convinced Kristen could play anything. She plays the rhythm of the scene a little more brightly than an actor who might not have her comedy background.”

Because of that ability, Taylor adds, “We asked Kristen to play a complicated person that not a lot of actors would want to be, but she understood the nuances and behavior of the character in a way that was kind of mind boggling. Brilliant and funny, I admire her a lot.”

Downsizing is the second collaboration for Wiig and Damon. The two costarred in Ridley Scott’s The Martian. “Even though we were both in The Martian, we didn’t have any scenes together so I felt a little robbed,” recalls Wiig. This film was a “double whammy. I’ve always wanted to work with Matt and Alexander.” Wiig adds that she loves watching Alexander work. “He’s such a considerate leader and so detail oriented that it gives the actors a weird sense of safety because you know everything around you has been thought out,” she says. “When he moves on from a scene you’re doing, you generally feel like you must have got it right.”

In Damon’s eyes, his co-star is “incredible. Kristen is obviously known for her writing and comedic performances, but she’s also a dynamic actress that can strike those nuanced notes with Audrey beautifully, quickly giving you a complete picture of the character.”