Jason Reitman

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Jason Reitman
Jason Reitman 2013 TIFF.jpg
Born (1977-10-19) October 19, 1977 (age 36)
Montreal, Quebec
Canada
Occupation Film director
Screenwriter
Film producer
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Michele Lee (2004-2014);
(1 child)
Parents Ivan Reitman
Geneviève Robert
Relatives Catherine Reitman (sister)

Jason Reitman (born October 19, 1977)[1] is a Canadian/American[2] film director, screenwriter, and producer, best known for directing the films Thank You for Smoking (2005), Juno (2007), Up in the Air (2009), and Young Adult (2011). As of February 2, 2010, he has received four Academy Award nominations, two of which are for Best Director. Reitman is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. He is the son of director Ivan Reitman.

Early life[edit]

Reitman was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada,[1] the son of Geneviève Robert, an actress sometimes billed as Geneviève Deloir, and comedy director Ivan Reitman. Reitman has two younger sisters, Catherine, an actress who is three years younger than him, and Caroline, a nurse who is 12 years younger than he.[3]

Reitman's father was born in Czechoslovakia, to Jewish parents who were Holocaust survivors. Reitman's paternal grandfather ran a dry cleaner and then a car wash.[3]

His mother is from a Christian background, and of French-Canadian descent; she converted to Judaism.[4][5][6] When he was still a child, his family moved to Los Angeles.[7]

His father, Ivan, directed the successful films Ghostbusters, Stripes, and Kindergarten Cop. Reitman said he has photos of himself as a baby on the set of Animal House. He grew up on set: "If it was the summer he was [on set] every day. If it was during the school year, like Ghostbusters." Reitman said, "he would go to New York and spend a week there."[3] This showed him that making movies is "a job that people do, that it's not just this piece of magic that happens."[3]

Jason described his childhood self as "a loser... a movie geek... [and] shy."[8] In the late 1980s, Reitman began appearing in small acting parts and serving as a production assistant on his father's films. He spent time in the editing rooms of his father's movies, learning the process.[8]

Reitman graduated from Harvard-Westlake School in 1995; Reitman was a high jumper in high school.[9]

Reitman attended Skidmore College and was going to major in pre-med studies before transferring to the University of Southern California to major in English/Creative Writing. At USC he performed with improv group Commedus Interruptus.[10]

On his father's career and legacy and not worrying about box office success: "Being the son of a director who was so successful... I knew moment one going into this job I would never have success like my father." Reitman said he was more focused on acceptance, that his concern very early on was that people might presume he had nothing to offer, that he'd be perceived as the spoiled son of a famous director. Reitman said he was very aware of "growing up really really lucky. Lucky on every front. Not only were my parents successful and not only were they artists and not only did I grew up in a beautiful home, that I grew up also in a family that stayed together in a city where families never stay together. My parents were both kind of thoughtful to their approach of parenting me, really cared about my happiness and were involved in my life. I have been lucky my entire life."[3]

Film career[edit]

Reitman started out making short films during his time at USC.[3] Throughout his 20s, instead of accepting offers to make commercial feature films, Reitman began making his own short films and directing commercials. Although he was offered the opportunity to direct Dude, Where's My Car? on two separate occasions, he declined.[8]

In 2005, Reitman's first feature film Thank You for Smoking opened. Reitman developed the Christopher Buckley novel into a screenplay and, eventually, a film. The film was a commercial and critical success. It grossed over $39 million worldwide by the end of its run, and was nominated for two Golden Globes. After the success of Thank You for Smoking, Reitman mentioned in an interview that his next film would be adapting another book (a "white collar satire") into a film. He also mentioned that he had plans to work with Buckley again on an original project.[11] Although the first of these projects would eventually become Up in the Air, this second project has not come to fruition.

His second film, Juno, generated great buzz after it premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival[12] and was released in December 2007. It received tremendous critical acclaim (it was Roger Ebert's favorite film of 2007) and received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Ellen Page's performance as the title character, Diablo Cody's original screenplay, and Reitman himself for Best Director. Reitman did win other awards for his work on Juno, including Best Director at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards; he was also honored with the "Cinema for Peace Award 2008 for Most Valuable Work of Director, Producers & Screenwriter". The film grossed over $140 million at the U.S. box office, making it the largest success of Reitman's career and more successful than any of his father's films since Kindergarten Cop.[13] Brad Silberling was originally attached to direct the film, but he dropped out over casting differences.[14] Reitman was in the middle of writing a screenplay when he came on board to direct Juno and, at one point, he expressed intent to finish writing and to direct this screenplay.[15]

In March 2006, Reitman formed the production company "Hard C Productions" with producing partner Daniel Dubiecki. The company had an overall deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures, the company that distributed Reitman's first two films. Reitman described his production company's goal as being to produce "small subversive comedy that is independent but accessible".[16] Reitman states that he and Dubiecki "want to make unusual films, and anything that turns a genre on its ear".[17] Through Hard C Productions, Reitman is set to produce and direct Banzai Shadowhands, a comedy about "a once-great ninja who is now living a life of mediocrity". Shadowhands will be written by The Office's Rainn Wilson. Reitman met Wilson on the set of his father's film My Super Ex-Girlfriend, in which Wilson had a supporting role.[16] No start date for filming has been set, and it is unclear as to whether or not Wilson is finished with the script.

Hard C Productions produced films The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things and Jennifer's Body. Anatomy has been written by Matthew Spicer and Max Winkler, and will revolve around "a Gotham bookstore clerk who discovers a museum devoted to his life".[18] Jennifer's Body is a horror comedy written by Diablo Cody and starring Megan Fox, about a cheerleader who is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a Minnesota farming town.[17] In 2009, Reitman left Hard C to form Right of Way Films.

In 2001, the year the novel Up in the Air was published, Sheldon Turner discovered the book and wrote a screenplay adaptation, which he sold to DreamWorks in 2003. Jason Reitman later came upon the novel (initially attracted by the Christopher Buckley blurb on the cover) while browsing in the Los Angeles bookstore Book Soup.[19][20] Reitman persuaded his father Ivan Reitman to purchase the book's film rights, and the elder Reitman commissioned a screenplay from Ted and Nicholas Griffin, who used some elements from Turner's script in their own work. Jason Reitman then developed his own screenplay, incorporating some of the elements from the Griffins' script that had (unbeknownst to Reitman) originated with Turner. Some of Turner's inventions that were utilized in the final film include Ryan's boilerplate termination speech ("Anyone who ever built an empire or changed the world sat where you're sitting right now..."), a key plot point involving a suicide, and the character of Ryan's partner (written by Turner as male).[20][21]

Reitman initially attempted to claim sole credit for writing the film, and later admitted to being confused when the Writers Guild of America ruled that he should share credit with Turner. He and Turner later appeared at a WGA event where both said they were happy to share credit now that the course of events, and Turner's contribution to the final product, had been made clear.[20][21]

In the spring of 2009, Reitman directed Up in the Air starring George Clooney. Up in the Air is based on a novel written by Walter Kirn about a corporate downsizer who travels from city to city and is fanatical about collecting his ten millionth frequent flier mile. The film features real-world characters cast from the ranks of the recently downsized. "Hidden within a film that seems to be about corporate termination and the economy is a movie about the decision whether to be alone or not," noted Reitman,"[22] in an interview conducted just prior to the film's nationwide release. Sheldon Turner and Reitman's Up in the Air screenplay won the Golden Globe Award for best screenplay in 2010.

Reitman also executively produced the erotic thriller Chloe, theatrically released by Sony Pictures Classics on March 26, 2010.[23] Reitman helped persuade Amanda Seyfried to star in the film.[24] The film had enjoyed commercial success and became director Atom Egoyan's biggest moneymaker ever.[25]

Other work[edit]

Before his feature film career began, Jason Reitman wrote and directed six short films. He financed his first short film, "Operation", with money he made by selling ads in desk calendars. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998.[26]

He was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on April 10, 2008; when he was asked if he would direct Ghostbusters III and cast Howard, he said "Do you know how many times I get asked if I want to do Ghostbusters III? Looking at my career so far, I mean, if you just looked at my two films, I would make the most boring Ghostbusters movie. It would just be people talking about ghosts, there wouldn't be any ghost-busting in it." Stern, a friend of Ivan Reitman, also revealed that he had seen Jason's early short films and was impressed enough to offer him the opportunity to direct an episode of Son of the Beach (a TV series he produced, a goofy parody of Baywatch), which Jason declined, citing that he was busy obtaining financing for Thank You for Smoking at the time.

Reitman produced and directed the 2007 holiday season commercials for Wal-Mart with advertising agency Bernstein-Rein. He has also directed ads for Burger King, Nintendo, BMW, and Buick.[26] In television, Reitman directed two episodes of The Office entitled "Local Ad" and "Frame Toby". Reitman also directed a three-part pretaped sketch for the NBC show Saturday Night Live called "Death By Chocolate," about a walking candy bar (played by episode host Ashton Kutcher) who murders people (stabbing a homeless man, shooting a doctor, cutting off a life support machine on a coma victim, and slicing Andy Samberg [dressed as a lumberjack] with a chainsaw).

Personal life[edit]

When Reitman was 16 and still in high school he moved in with a woman 10 years his senior. They were together for 7 years until they separated.[3]

In 2004, when he was 23, Reitman met and fell in love with his next door neighbor, eventually marrying writer Michele Lee,[27] with whom he co-wrote the 2004 comedic short "Consent."[28] They have one child, a daughter named Josie, born in 2006.[29] After being together 10 years, Reitman filed for divorce from his wife in June 2011 and stated he was divorced as of 2014.[3][29]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Notes Awards and nominations Ref.
1989 Ghostbusters II Actor
1990 Kindergarten Cop Actor, crew
1997 Fathers' Day Actor, crew
1998 Operation Director, writer, producer, actor (short film)
1999 H@ Director, writer, actor (short film)
2000 In God We Trust Director, writer, executive producer, actor (short film)
2001 Gulp Director, writer (short film)
2002 Uncle Sam Director, writer (short film)
2004 Consent Director, co-writer (short film)
2005 Thank You for Smoking Director, writer (based on the novel by Christopher Buckley)
(First feature film)
Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Screenplay
National Board of Review Award for Best Directorial Debut
Norwegian International Film Festival Audience Award
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best First Feature
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Director
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award Best Breakthrough Filmmaker
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
[30]
2007 The Office Director (television series, episode: "Local Ad")
Juno Director (first project with Diablo Cody) Alpe d'Huez International Comedy Film Festival Grand Prix
Canadian Comedy Award Best Direction – Film
Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Work of Director, Producer & Screenwriter (shared with Diablo Cody, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russel Smith and Lianne Halfon)
Christopher Award for Feature Films
Gijón International Film Festival Special Prize of the Young Jury
Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman's Vanguard Award
Rome Film Fest Golden Marc'Aurelio Award
St. Louis International Film Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Feature
Stockholm Film Festival Audience Award
Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award (2nd place)
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated – Amanda Award for Best Foreign Feature Film
Nominated – Argentinean Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Film, Not in the Spanish Language
Nominated – Bodil Award for Best American Film
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Gijón International Film Festival Award for Best Feature
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Nominated – Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Award for Best Non-European Director
Nominated – Robert Award for Best American Film
[31]
2008 The Office Director (television series, episode: "Frame Toby")
2009 Jennifer's Body Producer (second project with Diablo Cody)
Up in the Air Director, writer (with Sheldon Turner; based on Walter Kirn's novel), producer AFI Award for Movie of the Year
Austin Film Critics Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
National Board of Review Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay (2nd place)
PEN Center USA West Literary Award
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Director of the Year Award
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Screenplay Adapted
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2nd place)
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay (tied with Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds)
USC Scripter Award (shared with Walter Kirn)
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated – Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Award for Best Non-European Director
Nominated – London Critics Circle Film Award for Best Director of the Year
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Producers Guild Award for Best Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award
Nominated – Robert Award for Best American Film
Nominated – Rome Film Fest Golden Marc'Aurelio Award
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse Award
Nominated – Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
[32]
Chloe Executive producer
2010 Ceremony Executive producer
2011 Young Adult Director, producer (third project with Diablo Cody) Palm Springs International Film Festival – Chairman's Vanguard Award (shared with Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt and Diablo Cody)
Jeff, Who Lives at Home Producer
2013 Labor Day Director, producer, writer (based on the novel by Joyce Maynard) [33]
2014 Men, Women & Children Director, producer, writer (with Erin Cressida Wilson, based on the novel by Chad Kultgen)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Crew: Jason Reitman, Director, Co-Screenwriter, Producer". Up In the Air (official site). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Bob (December 2, 2009). "Jason Reitman: Perfect weather to fly". National Post. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Maron, Marc (April 14, 2014). "Episode 488 - Jason Reitman" (podcast). WTF Podcast. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Goodman, Lee-Anne (December 5, 2009). "Jason Reitman just 'had to make' 'Juno'". Canadian Press (CTV News Toronto). Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Lamble, David (December 17, 2009). "Frequent flier brings the bad news". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "He and his French-Canadian wife, who converted to Judaism, are bringing up their children in the same tradition."
  7. ^ "Jason Reitman Biography". movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (December 8, 2007). ""Juno's" Reitman on Ellen Page: "She's the real thing. Fearless"". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  9. ^ From the Commentary to Juno. Reitman states that the High-Jumper is a call out to his days as a High-Jumper.
  10. ^ Wheeler, John (December 1, 2009). "Reitman finds himself on the ascent". Daily Trojan. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Wines, Shawn. "Lobbying is Kind of Funny", Ignore Magazine, 2006. Retrieved on January 10, 2008.
  12. ^ Evans, Ian (2007), Juno premiere at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, retrieved 2009-12-07 
  13. ^ "Juno - Box Office Mojo", Box Office Mojo, 2007-01-03. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  14. ^ Kreps, Daniel. "Page, Reitman Join Juno", IONCINEMA.com, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on January 10, 2008.
  15. ^ Reuven, Shmuel. "EXCLUSIVE: Jason Reitman Talks Juno and Ghostbusters," Jew Review, 2007. Retrieved on January 10, 2008.
  16. ^ a b Kit, Borys and Nicole Sperling. "Reitman, Wilson say 'Bonzai'", Hollywood Reporter, 2006-11-20. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  17. ^ a b Kit, Borys. "Reitman has the jump on Cody's 'Body'", Hollywood Reporter, 2007-11-13. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  18. ^ Garrett, Diane and Peter Gilstrap. "Searchlight interested in 'Anatomy'", Variety, 2007-05-14. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2009-12-09). "Reitman on origins of 'Air': Pic inspired by Buckley quote in book". Variety. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  20. ^ a b c Pond, Steve (2010-01-25). "'Up in the Air' Holds a Damage-Control Screening". The Wrap. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  21. ^ a b Zeitchik, Steven (2010-01-15). "Screenwriting credits, floating up in the air". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  22. ^ "Jason Reitman: Up In The Air". SuicideGirls.com. 23 Dec 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  23. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=chloe.htm
  24. ^ http://www.screendaily.com/reports/interviews/the-great-entertainer/5006120.article
  25. ^ Pevere, Geoff (December 7, 2010). "The Digital Revolution: Part 1". The Star (Toronto). 
  26. ^ a b "Jason Reitman - Libertarian", Advocates of Self Government, 2006. Retrieved on January 10, 2008.
  27. ^ Biography for Michele Lee at the Internet Movie Database
  28. ^ Consent at the Internet Movie Database
  29. ^ a b Steinman, Alex (June 22, 2011). "'Up in the Air' director Jason Reitman files for divorce from wife Michele Lee". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  30. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944/awards
  31. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467406/awards
  32. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1193138/awards
  33. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1967545/

External links[edit]