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: