Profile: Jason Reitman, director of Young Adult
- Kaleem Aftab
- 1 February 2012
CV includes Thank You For Smoking, Juno and Up In the Air
19 October, 1977.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, his old man is Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman. Since graduating from the University of South California, where he was an English major, he’s taken on various directorial challenges of his own: smoking conglomerates felt the heat in Thank You For Smoking, a teen girl got pregnant in Juno, and George Clooney found his charms flabbergasted in Up In the Air.
What’s he up to now?
Reitman has turned his attention to the world of literature. In Young Adult Charlize Theron plays Mavis, a writer of teen fiction, who decides that the love of her life was her now married high-school sweetheart Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) and so heads back home to pursue him.
What makes his films so interesting?
Reitman’s characters are never black and white, and are always capable of surprising you. His is a healthily ambivalent view on human existence: ‘People are narcissistic everywhere. People are afraid of growing up everywhere. People are complicated, people want to be loved, people are broke, people are vulnerable.’
On his directorial style …
’I don’t want to be a dick! I like to think I’m less of a dick than some. At a certain point you’re the boss and that’s part of running the ship. I genuinely care about people I work with and consider them family. So I’m not a general at the top of the hill screaming at troops, we move quickly and shoot in short shifts.’
He watched action films when he was growing up. He never understood John Hughes movies - to him they felt as foreign as watching nature documentaries: ‘I never drank, never did drugs, never went to parties, so when I’m looking at high school movies I’m not reliving old times.’
Young Adult, selected release from Fri 3 Feb.