Jason Reitman quotes and sayings
October 19, 1977
I've always had an underdog perspective.
I'm really attracted to authors who take on really tricky material with a very open mind and take a subject matter that you wouldn't think would be a comedy.
Really, it's the director's job to disappear and allow the movie to just feel.
It's easy to get caught up in a moment and think, 'Oh, I've been offered some giant studio film or a superhero franchise or some actor wants to meet with me about a project they want to do.' And it's easy to get caught up in a moment because it's flattering. But you can't do a movie because it's flattering.
Well, Toronto, I consider to be the birthplace of my films. I've made three films and this is the third one to premiere here in the same theater on the same day at the same time - they are my audience. They're the people that I think about while I'm writing, directing, and editing. I specifically make movies for them.
I'm trying to figure myself out through my movies. Whether it's big stuff like what we're doing here, or little stuff like, 'Why aren't I happier?' With every film I feel like I'm apologising for something. I feel I'm most successful when I'm looking for something that embarrasses me about my character that I'd like to expose.
I went to college, I went pre-med, I thought I was going to be a doctor.
And the biggest improvement I see between 'Up in the Air' and 'Juno' and 'Thank You for Smoking' is that 'Up in the Air' deals with the complicated human stuff in a way that my other films have not. It's a more articulated film, and because of that, I'm most proud of it.
When it comes to casting, I've been so lucky. I've worked with unbelievable actors who make me look better than I am and take the written word and make it honest.
Filmmaking is a completely imperfect art form that takes years and, over those years, the movie tells you what it is. Mistakes happen, accidents happen and true great films are the results of those mistakes and the decisions that those directors make during those moments.
If someone else made 'Up in the Air' or 'Thank You For Smoking' or 'Juno,' I would have wanted to rip their head off. I need that same sort of passion for every project I take on.
Filmmaking is finding a piece of granite and you start to chip away and then you have the shape of a head, the shape of the arm, you can see the shape of the face and the face starts to gather character. You have to find it.
What I do feel is that 'Up in the Air' is the most indicative film of 2009. It is the portrait of 2009.
I am an obsessive flyer, myself.
Everything I've wanted to turn into a film becomes something new and different when it becomes a movie... Each time I work with an author, I say to them, 'A book and a movie are different things.'.
I'm equally guilty of using technology - I Twitter, I text people, I chat. But I think there's something strangely insidious about it that it makes us think we're closer when in fact we're not seeing each other, we're not connecting.
Being the son of a filmmaker, you are aware of a career as a director. You don't think of it as just movies, but as a life.
I have one of the original 'Ghostbusters' guns in my house.
As far as writing, I like watching bad movies. Nothing stops me in my tracks more than watching a great film like 'The Godfather' or 'Dog Day Afternoon' or 'The Graduate.' You watch one of those, and you never want to write again. Whereas with bad movies, it makes you think, If that counts, I certainly could write.
I hear the way people talk about the children of famous people. They're not treated very well. The presumptions are usually quite awful. So I tried to establish myself with a couple of movies. After 'Juno' I thought: 'I think I've defined myself enough as my own director that I'd love to work with my father.'.
I don't believe in director's cuts where you make things longer. The coolest thing was when the Coen brothers did a director's cut of 'Blood Simple,' and they made it shorter.
'Alien' asked ground-breaking questions about eco-politics and female empowerment. 'The Matrix' delved deeper into the concept of perception versus reality than perhaps any other film I know. But for some reason, we tend not to remember the significance of their writing.
Creating a wonderful drama is an art form, while comedy is just entertainment.
When I think of 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' there was a warmth to those teenagers that I related to. They were not aware that they were in the middle of a horror film, and I really loved those characters and I empathized with them.
I used to have a group called Bad-Movie Saturday. Every Saturday, six of us would go see the worst movie that came out each weekend. It'd be noon in Burbank. It was just a running commentary. All executives - we would each talk through the movie and make jokes.
I've been very, very lucky in my career, in my life - from day one. When aspiring directors say, 'What's your advice?' first I say, 'Be born the son of a famous director. It's invaluable.'.
Comedy and horror are cousins; they're related. They both come from storytellers who want to specifically affect the audience and elicit specific reactions during the movie.
All the airports kind of feel and look the same now. Some are more beautiful, some are less beautiful, but for the most part you're going to find a Starbucks in every airport. You're going to get your coffee and the 'USA Today' or 'New York Times' in every airport.
There are only so many movies you can direct. And yet there are movies that I want to make sure make it to the screen in as honest a way as possible.
I'm really specific in the way that I shoot. I've always had a very good sense of what I need in the editing room. I used to shoot in a way that drew more attention to the camera and I've tried, in each film, to draw less and less attention to the camera. I think when you pay attention to the shots, you're aware of the fact that there's a director.
The first thing I say when people ask what's the difference between doing TV and film, is that film has an ending and TV doesn't. When I write a film, all I think about is where the thing ends and how to get the audience there. And in television, it can't end. You need the audience to return the next week. It kind of shifts the drive of the story. But I find that more as a writer than as a director.
'Juno' really changed things for me and I get a lot of screenplays come in now, but I like to self-generate and I like to kind of pursue my own ideas. And I think the more personal the better.
When you're young, you want to make every kind of film: musicals, Westerns, horror. Slowly you begin to hear your own voice. I hope people receive what I do as small, personal films that are somewhat contrarian about their main characters.
And over the course of the last six years, as I've directed more features and commercials, I've become better at articulating exactly how I want the audience to feel.
Growing up sucks, doesn't it? I understand why people wouldn't want to get old - but it'd be one thing if we became a culture obsessed with eating right, doing yoga, going to therapy and becoming at one with ourselves. That be great. But we don't do that. We seem to be obsessed with all the wrong ways to stay young.
Directing 'The Office' is kind of like someone going, 'Would you like to drive my Lamborghini?' And I'm like 'Yes, I would like to drive your Lamborghini. That sounds like fun.'.
I grew up on movie sets, I'm comfortable on sets. A movie set is like a circus. I don't understand why moviemaking has to be such an insane environment.
Growing up the son of a director has made me very aware of the various turns that a directing career can take. Sometimes your films turn out exactly as you want. Sometimes they don't. I spent a lot of my childhood on sets. I think as a joke, my father gave me a line of dialogue in each of his films during the worst moments of my puberty.
I have a strange fascination with the Midwest. I'm waiting to find out that my parents are actually from the Midwest. I grew up in Beverly Hills, up the street, and I just feel comfortable there. I've shot in Minneapolis, in Detroit, in St. Louis, in Omaha - they would say they're the Plains, not the Midwest - and I love it.
'Looper' is about what your 55-year-old self would tell your 25-year-old self over a cup of coffee. It's about finding love in the third act of your life. It's about overcoming trauma and the idea of true sacrifice.
Most people are nostalgic in a way that they're fond of the past, but they still are happy that they are where they are now. You know, when you say, 'Oh, high school was this or that,' you don't want to go back. No matter how much you loved high school, you don't want to actually be back in high school. I certainly wouldn't.
I hate movies that tell people what to think. I'm proud that Democrats thought 'Thank You For Smoking' was their film and Republicans thought it was theirs. I'm proud that pro-choice people thought 'Juno' was their film and pro-life people thought it was theirs.
Things like Facebook have made you feel as though you're connected to everybody. You've got a thousand friends on Facebook, but you don't actually talk to anybody. You're not close to anybody.
There certainly is no secret in that there are plenty of people who don't like plenty of my movies. Each one of my films is personal; each one of my films is emotionally autobiographical. And I like directors who do that. With each one of my films, I'm exploring one of my own issues and I try to expose myself a little in the film.
Most people see a documentary about the meat industry and then they become a vegetarian for a week.
I remember when I was like 19 years old and I started a desk calendar company to pay for my first short film, just so I could say one day that my daddy didn't pay for my first short film. And I really established myself in the film festival world.
Unlike with any other art form, filmmakers have this unique web of festivals. There are hundreds. It is a democratic system in which you submit films, and if they are good enough, they play. The only barrier to entry is the submission fee.
I want my audiences to be as open-minded as my characters.
I don't consider myself bossy, but I do know what I want. You know, I have a gut feeling about a piece of material, but I've never envisioned myself as the director on top of the hill with a megaphone in my hand, screaming at 1,000 extras.
When I write a film, all I think about is where the thing ends and how to get the audience there.
I laugh a lot in horror films. If I'm scared in a horror film, I try to think about what's scaring me... particularly, if it's a bad movie, but something they're doing still works. It's the same way I look at comedy. I've always had an intellectual view of comedy, and what makes people laugh, and how does it work.
Look, any guy who tells you that he didn't have some fears is lying. Of course, it's scary becoming a dad for a variety of reasons. That's not to say it isn't thrilling. It was. It was very exciting and in some ways was the greatest thing that's happened in my life. But it's also completely terrifying and you're saying goodbye to a portion of your life and that's just an emotional experience.
Rian Johnson's 'Looper' is inventive, entertaining, and thought-provoking in every way a movie can be. It is in fact the kind of movie that reminds us why we watch them and make them, a beautifully told story that deserves to be not only remembered, but acknowledged for its writing.
I'm not Michael Moore. I think Michael Moore wants to tell you how to think. He wants to give you answers. I make movies to raise my own personal questions and not to give answers.
When characters change on screen, it makes you feel better about yourself. You think, 'Oh I change too, I'm constantly becoming a better person.'.
Directing is a reactionary job more than a creation job. The job is to react whether it's moment one, the first time you read the script or see an article or read a book or notice something happen on the street and have an idea for a movie, and it just continues from there on in. You're just reacting to dialogue, a performance, an audition, a headache, a piece of furniture, a piece of clothing.
Being pregnant changes you as a human being and it gives you a whole lot of mixed feelings.
I think when you pay attention to the shots, you're aware of the fact that there's a director. Really, it's the director's job to disappear and allow the movie to just feel.
I'm not going to have a perfect career. It's better to be Billy Wilder and make lots of movies and have five or six great ones than to make so few movies that when you make a bad one it crushes you.
Can you design a Rorschach test that's going to make everyone feel something every time - and that looks like a Rorschach test? It's easy to show a picture of a kitten or a car accident. The question is, how abstract can you get and still get the audience to feel something when they don't know what's happening to them?
And I certainly like being on a plane, next to a stranger, having conversations that you'd never otherwise have. You're unplugged, your phone doesn't work, you're not online.
People want to know if I have a moral standpoint that they should be picking up on, and the truth is, I don't. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to tell them to feel a certain way. I think that's cheap filmmaking.
Doesn't every generation feel like the one that's coming up behind them doesn't know how to grow up? I'm not sure if we're progressively getting worse or if your perspective shifts.
And as a director, you make 1,000 decisions a day, mostly binary decisions: yes or no, this one or that one, the red one or the blue one, faster or slower. And it's the culmination of those decisions that define the tone of the film and whether or not it moves people.
Discover how little you know about the people you know.
From the onset of the 'Live-Read' series, we wanted to hit all the major writers and Woody Allen is simply one of the greatest screenwriters of all time. He has ability to match pathos and comedy and drama and then turn it all on a dime. If you're going to make a series based on dialogue, you can't find much better than Woody Allen.
I think romance is a tool, comedy is a tool and drama is a tool. I really just want to tell stories that challenge the viewer, move people, make you laugh, perhaps push an idea about being open-minded but never settle on a genre or an opinion. I hate genre. I like movies that are original in their approach.
Everyone wants to be loved; everyone wants to know where they're going in life; everyone wants to have a sense of direction and feel the next day is going to be better than today. We just all deal with it in a different way.
Selfishness, narcissism, being uncomfortable in your own skin, not feeling connected to the world around you, feeling dislocated from family and youth, having a strange relationship with your childhood - all those things feel really true to me.
I always believed that you can make challenging films, but they should be fiscally responsible.
When you make a movie, you do it so piecemeal. You're doing it, not only scene by scene, out of order, but shot by shot, line by line. And there's this idea that the director has the whole thing in his or her head and they're going to somehow weave it all together in the end.
My high-school years were so mediocre - I moved out when I was 16 and started living with my girlfriend who was 10 years older. Apart from that, I was just a video nerd.
I want my movies to be audience experiences. As much as I like Michael Haneke, I'm not going to make a Haneke film. That's just not in my DNA.
Humanizing good people is kind of boring and I don't really see the value in it... humanizing tricky characters is exhilarating, and making audience films out of indie subjects excites me.
When I look at 'Napoleon Dynamite's style I'm reminded of how I spoke when I was an eight-year-old boy. It was just like capturing the essence of, 'Duh!' It was just like the stuff that I would say when I was like eight, nine, ten years old.
'Election' is a movie I'd give a leg to cross the director's name out and put mine in.
Too many people believe in that Alfred Hitchcock thing that he only shot exactly the shots he needed for the dialogue he needed and I think that's bullshit, even if that was true for that singular filmmaker.
I'd done table reads for my own screenplays, and I always thought they were so much fun. Why couldn't we do these for other classic screenplays and bring them to life? You can experience live theater, where you get to see plays produced by different directors and different casts, but there's really nothing like that for movie scripts.
The first set I remember was 'Ghostbusters.' It was a scene in which the street erupted. I remember even at seven years old thinking, 'Wow, if you direct a movie, you can break the streets of New York.'.
Yeah, I was born in Montreal and I go back to Vancouver and Toronto a lot, so I have a sense of being Canadian, and I was raised by two Canadians, and my wife is Canadian, so yeah, I feel it.
Guillermo del Toro
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Nicolas Winding Refn
Francis Ford Coppola
Rita Mae Brown
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
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