Jason Reitman Takes Advantage of the Recession

11/29/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Jonathan Wu

Jason Reitman, the director and co-writer of the upcoming George Clooney film, "Up in the Air" and also known for such films as "Thank You For Smoking" and "Juno," recently shared about how he integrated the recession into his film.

During the filming of "Up in the Air," Reitman put an ad in papers in Detroit, Michigan, and St. Louis asking for real people to reenact the moment they were fired from their last job. A flood of people responded to the ad and were subsequently filmed for a sequence in the movie.

The director said in an interview, "I approached the shooting of the film when we were having one of the worst recessions on record. I had to adjust how to do these firing scenes (in the film), so satire just didn't work anymore. We were shooting in St. Louis and Detroit, two cities that just got pummeled and I put an ad out in the paper asking if there were people who lost their jobs and if they wanted to be in a documentary about job loss. We said it was a documentary to weed out actors who were trying to sneak into the film. We had a startling amount of responses. I ended up putting 60 people on camera, 22 of which made the film. We interviewed them about what it was like to lose their job in this economy and then we'd fire them on camera and ask them to respond the way they did when they lost their job, or, if they preferred, the way they wish they had responded. It was an incredible experience to watch these non-actors improvise with 100 percent realism. I don't think I'll use trained actors in the future."

"Up in the Air," a film about a man who travels around the country to fire corporate employees and is described by Reitman as a movie "about the examination of a philosophy—what if you decided to live hub to hub, with nothing, with nobody?" It is slated for a for a worldwide release on December 25, 2009.

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