Jason Reitman Talks More New Projects & Clooney-Less UITA
Last August we gave you an in-depth look at writer/director Jason Reitman's upcoming slate upon his ignition of the new production company Right of Way Films. However, thanks to ESPN's Bill Simmons' podcast which features an interview with Reitman, we now know of two more projects that weren't on our list of upcoming projects and a recently sold mystery project that he wasn't at liberty to talk about. The first film is an adaptation of Joyce Maynard's recent novel Labor Day, which Reitman confirms will be his next. In addition, he announced that he also has a new idea for a hockey referee movie. Yep, he's a busy guy.
Labor Day follows Henry, a 13-year-old social outcast, and his heartbroken mom as they're willingly taken hostage by an escaped convict in their own home. Amazon praises the book as, "evoking Ian McEwan's Atonement and Nick Hornby's About a Boy, [where] acclaimed author Joyce Maynard weaves a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy—and the man he later becomes—looking back at an unexpected encounter that begins one single long, hot, life-altering weekend." Seems like a peculiar coming-of-age tale right up Reitman's alley.
Reitman's hockey flick isn't as developed yet since it's still pretty fresh, and Reitman is a bit apprehensive. "Honestly, Slapshot makes hockey movies difficult. Like Bull Durham does for baseball or Hoosiers and White Men Can't Jump do for basketball." But original writing, witty yet subtle comedy, and a genuine filmmaker's eye should bring some new flare to the sports genre (though he's up against Kevin Smith).
Aside from the new project, Reitman wasn't finished talking about his award-winning film Up in the Air. Obviously one of the most integral components of the film's success is a downright spectacular performance from George Clooney. Since Reitman had written the script with Clooney in mind, he was lucky enough to have his dream lead actor. But what if Clooney hadn't come on board? Reitman reveals that he already had a back-up in mind: comedian Steve Martin. "[If it wasn't] George, I would have completely rewritten the role and made it much more like Lost in Translation was for Bill Murray. That was my back-up plan."
Wow. Up in the Air was my favorite film from last year, but in some alternate universe it would be awesome to see a Steve Martin led Up in the Air. But, as it is, I'm more than content with Clooney's interpretation of Ryan Bingham, and hopefully the Academy Awards will be as well when they announce their nominations in February. For now, we play the waiting game until Reitman gets his next few projects together. Thoughts?