Reitman Talks Up in the Air, Clooney

by Anne Thompson
September 15, 2009 11:54 AM
4 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood
Six years ago, Jason Reitman picked up the Walter Kirn novel Up in the Air and showed it to his father Ivan (Ghostbusters), who acquired film rights. Jason took a short stab at a film treatment of the book about a businessman who is obsessed with collecting frequent flier miles.

But the screenwriter and shorts filmmaker had to earn his stripes as a director with Thank You for Smoking before he was given the chance to direct Up in the Air by his father's production company. Then the younger Reitman took a detour to make Diablo Cody's Juno . By the time he came back to Up in the Air, the world was changing around him, so that the movie he had started to write became a very different animal indeed.

I talked to Reitman at the small Telluride Film Festival in the Rockies where he debuted Juno two years ago, before he premiered Up in the Air at his home town, Toronto. He talks about how he landed George Clooney, who he had always had in mind:


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4 Comments

  • Edward | November 30, 2009 12:54 AMReply

    I like Reitman no matter that what he does differes a bit from what is considered to be common in this business. thanks for this video. earlier I found some by http://www.picktorrent.com but these ones were a pleasant surprise to me. can't wait to see the movie.

  • Ryan Sartor | September 22, 2009 4:27 AMReply

    Yeah, I felt kind of foolish about my comment after I wrote it. The trailer's really good, I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

  • Grace Wang | September 21, 2009 9:43 AMReply

    Great interview. This really helped me understand the film and Reitman's vision more. I saw it at TIFF and really connected to it. I see where the other comment is coming from, but I really don't think he meant anything patronizing. People have different senses of humor and it can be construed very differently in a short speech. The chuckles and remarks about those people are now members of SAG were more in wit than jest, in my opinion. I really appreciated what he said about the Anna Kendrick character, because it is so true that intelligent, young women are rarely portrayed on screen without being a part of some sort of romantic dilemma. That was refreshing. And I hope to see more of them.

  • Ryan Sartor | September 16, 2009 6:09 AMReply

    I'm really excited about "Up In The Air," and from what I've read it seems that it's a film about loneliness and alienation, which everyone can relate to.

    I do think it's commendable that Jason Reitman cast real people who'd been laid off, but overall, I really don't care what Ivan Reitman's son thinks about people losing their jobs. I just don't care what he thinks about it. Being a PA on your father's films and directing commercials ("Oh, I lost the Pepsi account") does not mean that you know what it's like to struggle to make ends meet.

    It seems so far from a genuine viewpoint. I just hope he realizes that giving these people gigs for a day doesn't make him some saint, and trivializing the issue in a film isn't going to make anything better.

    I'm sure the film's great, I just saw this interview and the NYTimes.com one and he was basically spouting the same stuff sounding genuine both times, and I'm sure he is, he seems like a really nice guy and I bet he made an excellent film. It just feels really patronizing. If he wanted to write a satire, then make a satire. Don't say "A lot of people went through this and it wasn't funny anymore." If you think it's funny, then write it. If it's a good story, it'll work. Don't pity middle America. They can handle it, or they can buy a ticket for something else.

    Sorry for the rant. I'm employed, in case you thought I'd just been laid off or something.

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