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Jason Reitman Talks More New Projects & Clooney-Less UITA

by
January 23, 2010
Source: Bill Simmons

Jason Reitman

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?

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  • d1rEct
    He is so overrated its not funny.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    ^ Who, Steve Martin? Nowadays I totally agree, I can't believe anyone went to see that It's Complicated crap.
  • Todd Wodinsky
    "Since Reitman had written the script with Clooney in mind, he was lucky enough to have his dream lead actor..." You mean re-wrote it. Sheldon Turner wrote it first.
  • WB EXEC
    Alex are you guys saying Steve Martin is overrated? Martin is an amazing talent and Up In The Air would have been an excellent vehicle for him.
  • Lynn
  • Dan Dassow
    Bill, It was not clear whether Jason Reitman was merely joking about making a hockey film or was serious. Bill Simmons also suggested a film about a hockey enforcer. Reitman and Simmons discussed this at length. dan_dassow@yahoo.com
  • Fuelbot
    I think we can all agree that Jason Reitman is a great writer/director, but I'm a little worried about him continually adapting other people's work (no matter how different it turns out to be.) It seems like he would be bursting to tell an original story. Hopefully, the hockey movie is something all his own.
  • Al
    Im pretty sure number 1 meant Reitman is overrated, not Martin. I actually have mixed feeling about Reitman myself. Thank You For Smoking was great for his direction, yet Juno was the most pretentious film of 07. Up In The Air was just good, not my favorite of the year, but nothing terrible. If it had Martin in it though...that would be awesome. just awesome.
  • Corran Horn
    Fuelbot: Actually, Reitman has said that he, at this time, is not interested in directing his own original script. I forget why, but he mentions it in one of his earlier interviews. Labor Day definitely sounds like it would be up Reitman's alley. Oh, and after finally getting a chance to see UITA last Friday, I can say it is definitely my favorite film of the year.
  • SlashBeast
    #1 - d1rEct What's funny is that he's not overrated. Making you a whoreson.

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