Magazine article Variety

Crew Discovers How Much Size Matters

Magazine article Variety

Crew Discovers How Much Size Matters

Article excerpt

PARAMOUNT'S "DOWNSIZING" is set in the near future, when a group of people shrink themselves to reduce their carbon footprint and extend their financial resources. Director Alexander Payne (who also scripted with Jim Taylor) had high praise for his behind-the-camera colleagues. "My charge to them was that I wanted it to look real; I didn't want things eye-popping. I wanted a real sense of place."

Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael

"The structure of the film is episodic. It starts in Omaha, then moves to Leisureland and so on. It's four or five short films, but all of them are encased in a movie that should ultimately look like something shot in 1978. It's a movie set 15 years in the future, but I wanted it to look like an old movie, as wacky as that sounds. I think older movies have a pleasing patina, and I wanted the pretty colors and grain. We knew that in post-production, in the coloring process, in the digital intermediate [suite], we had flexibility to bend the images. We popped the colors and added grains and contrast to make it look older There's a wonderful colorist at Technicolor, Skip Kimball, whose expertise we relied on."

Editor Kevin Tent

"Kevin and Phedon both had experience with effects. I hadn't, so I needed collaborators to guide me and discover all of its capabilities. We all had a great time doing the downsizing sequence - the ballet of the medical procedure. And editing the party sequence and the ecstasy trip was super fun. We gave assistant editor Angela Latimer first crack, and Kevin and I did some more. We all had a ball with that."

Composer Rolfe Kent

"I don't trumpet my collaborators out of an empty sense of promoting, but I think the work Rolfe did was extraordinary. It's an extremely classical score. We have themes for each character, and the themes are bent and used as motifs throughout. For example, we had temped the mass-reduction scenes with Ravel's "Bolero," which worked.

But Rolfe said, "Let me try something," and he came up with a waltz that's great and perfect for that sequence. I wanted all the music to be melodic and beautiful; most of it was played by an 80-piece orchestra, recorded on the fantastic Streisand Stage on the Sony lot. If you see the film, pay attention to music. A first-time viewer might not notice it, but if you listen to it, you will be rewarded."

Casting John Jackson

"He was the local casting director on my first three films. …

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