One of the first things director Jason Reitman does after introducing himself is take pictures of all the journalists sitting at our table waiting to interview him. It’s a strange but fun surprise as he later goes on to explain that he’s forming a collage back home and the pictures help keep track of who he’s met in the various cities he’s traveled to promote his new film “Up in the Air.”
The film has travel at its core so it makes sense for Reitman to not only fly from city to city talking the film up but to also keep souvenirs along the way. Having directed “Juno” and “Thank You For Smoking” previously, the story of love and detachment may not have clicked right away for Reitman but he gives primary credit to Walter Kim’s novel on which the film is based. The novel has served as his inspiration from the initial stages of the project all the way to the conference table where a handful of journalists are asking him questions.
Handling questions seems to be Reitman’s specialty as he’s recently gone so far as to publicly release a chart online of the questions he’s been getting on the publicity tour. Questions about working with George Clooney and living in his father Ivan’s cinematic shadow are the most popular but others like “what’s your favorite airport” and “do you think the movie will win an Oscar” aren’t too far behind. For the record I stayed away from these questions. Not because I’m elitist or knew that Reitman wouldn’t like them but because they’re easy questions to ask, making it easy to understand why they made the question chart in the first place.
The following is an interview with Jason Reitman I conducted with a few other journalists during his publicity trip in San Francisco. Some of the questions from the chart are asked by others but don’t worry, substantial questions are asked too.
“Up in the Air” opens in limited release this Friday and expands on Christmas Day.