the industry

Sacha Baron Cohen, Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Giamatti Get Small

Eenie, meenie: Melissa, Molly.

Bring the Payne: Alexander Payne is putting the finishing touches on the screenplay for his next directorial project, Downsizing, a satire about miniature people. No official deals will take place until Payne finishes the script, but officially committed to star so far are Paul Giamatti, as a financially troubled man who shrinks himself in order to improve his quality of life, along with Reese Witherspoon and Sacha Baron Cohen as fellow small people. Perhaps now Payne can finally land that McDonald’s Happy Meal toy tie-in that has so long eluded his work. [Variety]

Miranda Gets Animated: In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stepped down from his acting role in the show a few weeks ago, has nabbed a development deal with DreamWorks Animation. His first project will be a musical feature, with High School Musical screenwriter Peter Barsocchini and producer Larry Mark. After shining the spotlight on Washington Heights, maybe Miranda can pay some love to another underappreciated New York City neighborhood? Great Kills, maybe? [Variety]

Chuck Dominates: Chuck Lorre may well be on your television screen forever: CBS is reportedly offering both Lorre’s hit comedies renewal deals, with Two and a Half Men getting a three-year extension and The Big Bang Theory, a two-year contract. [Variety]

Prince Targets Huge Paycheck: Prince is the latest blockbuster act to sign on for an exclusive big-box release: Target will be releasing his new three-CD set — including LOtUSFLOW3R, MPLSoUND, and Elixir, an album by his artist Bria Valente — for just $11.98 on March 29. [Variety]

Basset Directs: Angela Basset will make her directorial debut with United States, a dramatic comedy based on Percival Everett’s book Erasure. The plot revolves around a prominent black literary figure who writes a fake autobiography as a critique of the glorification of “ghetto” culture. But, uh oh — the book’s a hit! As long as Basset’s next project doesn’t require a Notorious-style Jamaican accent, we preemptively applaud it. [HR]

Sacha Baron Cohen, Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Giamatti Get Small