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That’s why he’s flown to New York from Greece seven weeks after his wife, Maria Kontos, gave birth to their daughter.He’s here to bang the drum for “Downsizing,” a comedy about a couple from Omaha (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) who shrink themselves to the size of a Saltine in order to live in a Mc Mansion.The production budget was nearly double what Payne’s next-most-expensive film, “The Descendants,” cost to produce. Ironically, former Fox head Jim Gianopulos is now in charge of Paramount.

Sources: paternal grandfather, Nicholas/Nikos/Nick S.

Alexander Payne recently had a business lunch with Jason Blum. Payne is an Oscar-winning auteur known for such salt-of-the-earth comedies as “About Schmidt” and “Nebraska,” films where moments of levity emerge from a kind of hardscrabble realism.

“I’m hesitant to say there’s, God forbid, a message,” says the director, “but I liked the idea of trying to solve the world’s greatest problem through something as preposterous as miniaturization.

But when you think about it, there’s no better solution.

There’s the look at class in America, there’s political satire, a humanist point of view.

It’s all crammed into one greedy package called ‘Downsizing.’”Alexander Payne In the film, the characters undergo an operation that makes them 5 inches tall, after which they live in a miniature world replete with glitzy suburban developments, conspicuous consumerism and three Cheesecake Factories.“It was a process of wrangling something that could go in a million different directions,” says Taylor.“We needed to tame the quantity of material.” “It’s a summing up of all the themes that I’ve been working with.If we are going down — and it sure looks that way — what are we supposed to do? Allow plague, food riots, starvation and natural disaster to just kill us all off? “Downsizing” was intended to be Payne’s next film after 2004’s “Sideways,” and was conceived with Paul Giamatti in the lead role.It took more than a decade to secure the financing, and the picture only got a greenlight after Giamatti exited the project in favor of the more bankable Damon. There’s too much pressure on them to sand off all the rough edges.” Ultimately, Paramount backed the project after 20th Century Fox passed.Blum, the hugely successful producer behind “The Purge” and “Insidious,” is a mogul of the macabre.But Payne, after seven movies that largely center on middle-aged schnooks, says he’s done with dramatizing the foibles of the pocket-protector set. “I want to do something different,” Payne tells Variety during a recent interview at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters. They’re all the rage right now, and they make a lot of money.” Before Payne can team up with Blum, however, he’s got a film to release.Birth Name: Constantine Alexander Payne Place of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska, U. Date of Birth: February 10, 1961 Ethnicity: *75% Greek *25% German Alexander Payne is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Alexander’s father is of half Greek and half German descent. Regarding his Greek background, Alexander has stated: I’m American, I am Greek-American, but American.He is the son of Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne. However, this crisis affecting Greece I feel that it mobilizes my DNA.Despite the upheaval, Payne isn’t worried his picture will be shunted aside.“I have no evidence or instinct to suspect that this film will be dumped by a new regime,” he says. It’s their big Christmas release.” Payne is also thrilled with Damon’s performance, likening him to Jack Lemmon and Tom Hanks in his ability to play an everyman.

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