Alexander Payne sizes up the world in 'Downsizing'

Studio 360
Matt Damon and Director Alexander Payne on the set of Downsizing

Matt Damon and director Alexander Payne on the set of "Downsizing"

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Director Alexander Payne is best known for his satirical, razor-sharp comedies like “Citizen Ruth” and “Election,” as well as his humanist character studies like “Sideways” and “The Descendants.” Payne combined those elements to create the new sci-fi film “Downsizing.”

It stars Matt Damon as a physical therapist who shrinks himself down to five inches so he can help save the planet.

Kurt Andersen talks to Payne about the genesis of the film, and how the movie’s themes stayed relevant despite its lengthy production process.

“We thought of all of those elements back in 2006 when we began writing,” he said. “And sadly they have achieved more timeliness now, and even more sadly they will probably be more timely 10 years from now.”

Andersen asked if Payne will ever go for the really big payoff and direct a superhero film. “No," Payne said. “I would choose not to start sucking on the old Hollywood crack pipe.”