He brought you “Thank you for Smoking” and “Juno.” Now, director Jason Reitman is gearing up for the buzz surrounding his latest movie, “Up in the Air.”
The film tells the story of Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney. Bingham travels non-stop, flying around the country to fire employees for corporate bosses too scared to pass out the pink slip themselves. At a recent press junket, Reitman told The Miami Hurricane the film is about human connection.
“It’s about a man, for the first time, reaching out and getting close to people – bringing them in and having some sort of community,” he said. “I think we’re at a moment where we just don’t talk anymore. We have to Twitter, we have to text [sic]. Certainly, for road warriors, that’s the only way to communicate. If I was to create a metaphor for this man’s distance with other people, I thought technology [was the best one].”
Bingham finds it difficult to continue his anti-social lifestyle when his boss forces him to take recent college graduate and know-it-all Natalie, played by Anna Kendrick of “Twilight” fame, with him on the road. Natalie is both a professional and personal challenge, pushing Bingham to not only empathize with the people he fires, but also to reach out to the woman he just might love, played by Vera Farmiga.
The film touches on the state of the economy, betrayal, and corporate culture in America. But Reitman said his film doesn’t make a specific statement.
“I don’t think I really have a message,” he said. “I hope the movie acts as a mirror. I want you to see yourself in the film – whether you believe one thing or another. My films have always created some sort of divide. Half the people think one thing, half the audience thinks another. On this film, I’m perfectly fine with people taking their own message.”
So far, the reaction has been positive. Already, the film is nominated for six Golden Globes and is poised to woo the Academy. Reitman said part of his formula for success is working with trusted friends.
“Valuing relationships over resumes is a directorial thing. It means that when you’re on set you’d rather be with someone you connect with…The fact is there’s a lot of talented people out there, but when you’re trying to figure out the one person who’s going to be by your side, it should be somebody you like standing next to.”
“Up in the Air” is playing in theaters nationwide.