There is no more oddly matched
Hollywood pairing than director Jason
Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, the two responsible for the much-buzzed-about teen-pregnancy comedy, Juno. He’s the privileged, proper son of a famous Hollywood director (Ivan); she’s a college-grad-turned-stripper-turned-blogger-turned-journalist-turned-novelist-turned-screenwriter with a penchant for colored hair and tattoos.
Nevertheless, Reitman, who previously wrote and directed Thank You for Smoking, and Cody, who makes her debut with Juno but has sold several projects since and is penning Steven Spielberg’s new sitcom (The United States of Tara), have morphed into some sort of fully functioning sibling duo bound and determined, it seems, to work together in perpetuity. Reitman is producing her next screenplay, Jennifer’s Body, a horror flick that will star Transformers’ Megan Fox.
The Current recently talked with the pair, who arrived for the interview already laughing and couldn’t stop even when it was all over.
Jason, in Thank You for Smoking you tackled the tobacco lobby. In Juno you take on teen pregnancy. What hot-button topic is next?
Jason Reitman: You know, I have an AIDS comedy I’m going to do next year. The problem is, AIDS wasn’t around during the holocaust, which means you can’t make an AIDS-holocaust comedy unless you add time travel. It’s about a girl who goes back in time to fuck Hitler and give him AIDS.
`Reitman and Cody burst into uncontrollable laughter here, falling into one another.`
Diablo Cody: That’s such a good idea!
JR: Well, it’s my idea!
DC: `Trying to speak through her laughter` You could call it Back to the Fuhrer.
JR: Back to the Fuhrer! Oh my God.
`The laughter grows worse. They’re actually choking.`
DC: I can’t believe you went there. I mean, I believe you came up with that idea, but I can’t believe you unleashed it here.
Diablo, your screenplay was remarkable. The buzz around the movie is equally remarkable. How are you handling this sudden success?
DC: I’m allergic to cheese in any way, so I try not to be too cheesy in my responses, but it really has been a — why are you laughing at me?
JR: `Snickering` “Allergic to cheese.” That’s clever.
DC: It’s been an incredible experience for me, because I had never written a screenplay before. I was never even published as a writer up until a few years ago. Then things started to just sort of happen for me serendipitously and I was “discovered,” as lame as that sounds. I got married three years ago and I took my honeymoon in LA because I thought it was an exotic place I’d never get to see — and now I live here and I’m going to my premiere tonight. It’s mind-boggling.
Jason, Juno’s point of view isn’t pro-life, pro-choice, pro-anything. How do you see the tone?
JR: I actually see this movie as entirely apolitical. I have the unique perspective of coming from a writer who grew up in a very Juno MacGuff-type house and a director who grew up in a very Loring-type house. Because of that, there’s an air of non-judgment around all the characters. One of the things I loved about it, like Thank You for Smoking the novel, it took an issue that is normally considered tricky and had a very frank attitude about it. It spoke very openly about it without being condescending and it never got into politics.
Should we expect you to continue to choose projects that attempt to comment on or at least address such difficult topics?
JR: Well, look, when I do Back to the Fuhrer, there are going to be no jokes. We’re going to treat it seriously. The humor is inherent.
DC: This isn’t going to be a trip-and-fall movie. The comedy’s going to be very intelligent.
JR: Back to the Fuhrer is very much like Juno. They’re kind of like long-lost siblings, like Diablo and I. •