Jason Reitman

For a while there, whenever somebody talked about the upcoming comedy about dueling magicians, Burt Wonderstone, it was often just viewed as the next starring vehicle for Steve Carell. He’s long been attached to the lead role of an aging illusionist whose less than fresh magic act has lost its steam. The questions of who would play the flashier, younger magician who takes his place in the hearts and minds of magic fans, or who some of the other characters would be, never seemed to get much attention. But once the movie got a director and another re-write, it became time to start filling out the rest of the cast. And they’ve been doing a pretty bang-up job so far. Big names like Jim Carrey and James Gandolfini have been mentioned as negotiating for the film, and at this point are assumed to be on board. Carrey will play the flashier magician to Carell’s outdated dud, and Gandolfini is said to be playing a casino owner. And now, joining those names are a couple more actors that you might have heard of: sex symbols Olivia Wilde and Steve Buscemi. Wilde is negotiating to play the role of Carell’s love interest (yeah, right!), a magician’s assistant who bounces back and forth between his character and Carrey’s. And Buscemi is negotiating to play Carell’s long-time partner, who ends up quitting the act.

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In a post-Juno world, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody have re-teamed for a much darker spin on inappropriate maturity levels and their inevitable consequences. Whereas their hamburger phone-chatting, bon mot-spouting teen Juno was almost too mature for her own good, their latest heroine is undoubtedly too immature to even be considered a real adult. In Young Adult, Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a YA author who has much more in common emotionally and intellectually with her characters than she does with anyone her actual age. Mavis heads back to her small hometown, still gorgeous as ever, but with a real chip on her shoulder (to put it mildly). Mavis wants her high school sweetheart back (Patrick Wilson), and she doesn’t care if he’s married, and she doesn’t care if she’s a real bitch to everyone else, and she just…well, she just doesn’t care. Check out the first trailer for Young Adult after the break, with bonus Patton Oswalt as one of Mavis’ former classmates who is also a bit stuck in the past.

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J.K. Simmons is a worker, or as he calls it, a “journeyman actor.” The J.K. Simmonses of the world feature epic sized filmographies, even for an individual year. In 2009 alone, the actor appeared in 10 movies. Most were small parts, but 10 movies? He’s a busy man. One would think with that type of work ethic, Simmons would be an actor that cared more about the checks than the quality of the work. From speaking with the character actor, that didn’t seem to be the case. Simmons has, finally, got a starring role film under his belt — recently, anyway — that we can see. The Music Never Stopped (out now on DVD) is one of those small, non-cynical, heart-string yanking dramas. It’s a father/son story, so if you’re sucker for daddy issue movies, this one’s for you, kid. Here’s what actor J.K. Simmons had to say about appearing in nearly everything, being Jason Reitman‘s good luck charm, and naturally working off of Diablo Cody-isms:

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It used to be that shilling your film at a festival meant you were some scrappy up-and-comer who needed a break (or, at the very least, a hot shower). But as festivals have gotten bigger and more dazzling (any event that serves free Stella Artois is dazzling by its very nature), bigger name filmmakers have used them as launching pads for new projects. Jason Reitman is a prime example of this – he premiered both Juno and Up in the Air at the Telluride Film Festival and took them on to Toronto to pump up buzz so that cinephiles everywhere were primed when they finally hit theaters. Did it work? Heck yes it did. So it seemed a bit of a no-brainer that Reitman would bring his next collaboration with Juno scribe Diablo Cody to Telluride and then TIFF. Apparently, not so. Young Adult won’t make an appearance on the festival route this year, and though there’s nothing I love more than needless negative speculation and crying that a festival non-appearance or a release date change means that a film is a flaming brown bag of excrement, that may not be the case with Young Adult. As those eggheads over at The Playlist note, the film “is decidedly darker and much different than what we’ve seen from Reitman before.” The film stars Charlize Theron as a novelist who writes young adult fiction, who heads back to her small town to hook her high school sweetheart, played by Patrick Wilson. It’s […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and link collection column that is running late, but it’s not sorry about it. Tonight it went to see Cowboys & Aliens, which was a lot of fun. So deal with it. As you know, it is always worth the wait, baby. We begin tonight with the first look at Blake Lively and Chloe Moretz in Hick, which was released as part of the Toronto International Film Festival laying down its Gala and Special Presentation line-up. Lively is a drifter, Moretz is a runaway and in this scene, they’re moving quickly away from something. Perhaps its Lively’s cinematic career thus far. Someone should tell her there’s no escaping that wooden performance in Green Lantern.

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Jason Reitman has been a pretty successful director. His last two features alone, Juno and Up in the Air, got him tons of attention during awards season. Not surprisingly, he has another high profile project coming up. It’s an adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel Labor Day, and it’s got a couple big names rumored to star in Kate Winslett and Josh Brolin. But before he does that, Reitman is set to spend a couple weeks doing something that he’s never done before, work as a script doctor. New Line is bringing him in to give the script for their upcoming comedy Burt Wonderstone a once over. Wonderstone is a comedy about rival magicians working in Las Vegas. Steve Carell has been attached to star as the aging magician who is being shown up by a flashy young upstart, and recently, television veteran Charles McDougall has been signed up to be the director. It seemed to me that with those two elements in place, the project was ready to move forward, but apparently there are a few kinks that the studio feels need to be worked out first. The script for this one has been bouncing around at some level of production for years. The original draft was written by a guy named Chad Kultgen. For the past couple years writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who also worked together on the upcoming Horrible Bosses, have been the names associated with it. That would make Reitman the fourth name involved […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s an obsessively curated column that collects the most interesting links from around the movie blogosphere. It includes a bit of commentary, but only when the mood strikes. Which, for the purposes of this column’s author, is all the time. Gird your loins and put on your power rings, because it’s about to get wild in here. Getting ready to see Green Lantern this weekend? Our review will be live tomorrow. But if you need a primer before then, I would defer you to io9′s very thorough beginner’s guide to Green Lantern. It should bring you up to speed just in time to become angry about whether or not the film is faithful.

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There’s a ton of Oscar caliber piled high on Labor Day – the adaptation of the Joyce Maynard novel. Its plot asks the high concept question of what you’d do if you were approached by a mean-mugging, bleeding man while out shopping with your young teenager. The correct answer is, “run,” but the answer that divorcee Adele gives is, “offer him a ride in my car!” Bad life decision. Great set up for a thriller. Jason Reitman is directing, and EW is reporting that Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin have both signed on to star as Adele and the mean-mugging escaped convict respectively. Feel free to count the Oscar nominations and wins for yourself. The wins should be easy. With Young Adult already in production, Reitman is definitely exploring the concept of divorce seriously, but it’s also nice to see him branch out into a new genre. This stark thriller will make an interesting double feature with Juno. Winslet is no stranger to characters living in broken homes, and Brolin could let his mustache show up to set and garner another Oscar nomination. The point? This casting is insanely great and promises to continue Reitman’s winning streak. It will start filming next year in New England.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news. It will not try to sew your face to someone else’s butt. It will, however, make your hind quarters sore. So give yourself over to it — it will be gentle, at first. Fox’s upcoming Planet of the Apes prequel, previously titled Rise of the Apes, has been retitled to give it that ole’ familiar ring. It will now be called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which should hold until they can figure out a less concise way to title it. Either way, it’s got James Franco, so I’m seeing it.

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At a certain point, you get a streak going and you have to keep honoring it no matter what. Usually that situation leads to making House Party VIII, but fortunately for fans, Jason Reitman’s particular streak involves hiring J.K. Simmons for his movies. Coming Soon is reporting that Simmons will be providing the voice over for Young Adult, Reitman’s next film from screenwriter Diablo Cody. The cast already includes Charlize Theron as a writer who returns to her roots to find ex-love Patrick Wilson has got a wife and children. So she stalks him. All the pieces are lining up, and it goes without saying that Simmons is a brilliant acting talent, so we’ll have to see if Young Adult continues Reitman’s other streak: getting Oscar nominations.

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As if news that Jason Reitman was re-teaming with Diablo Cody wasn’t good enough, and as if Charlize Theron joining as the star didn’t cap it off, recent word is that Josh Brolin might be following up his 19 films in 2010 by co-starring for Young Adult. In the story that focuses on Charlize Theron’s divorcee author returning to her home town (what a classic trope) to reconnect with her now-married former love, Brolin may just be the married object of her affection. As per Reitman’s contract with Hollywood, the film will be nominated for Best Picture. [Showbiz 411]

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With so many rights, how could this be wrong? The Oscar-nominated director plans to produce (at least) a prep school satire where a young loser is taken under the wing of the kid with the longest rap sheet in school.

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Cannibal Girls

How excited am I to be attending a reparatory screening of an unsung horror film at SXSW? If you’re at all familiar with the articles I typically write for FSR, then the answer is self-evident. If you are lucky enough to have never read anything of mine, let me just say that this experience made me feel like Dr. Jones in the Egyptian desert realizing that the Nazis were digging in the wrong place.

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Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Best Director is a tricky category with, like many awards bestowed at the Oscars, a questionable track record. Venerated filmmakers like Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Altman, for instance, never won the award. While it’s arguably impossible to objectively compare different works of art, Best Director is an especially elusive and subjective category that forces one to compare apples to oranges, especially with this year’s nominees.

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It’s Academy Awards time again, and even though we all know the awards are basically an irrelevant exercise in mutual masturbation it’s still fun to watch. This year sees a wide variety of films gain entry into Oscar history via nominations for Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted. Some deserve the honor, while others are based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire.

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Studios have been afraid for too long. It’s time to put Palahniuk’s long, strange trip into the heart of American commercialism and religion on the big screen.

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Somewhere in this montage, you will find the (probably) smiling face of our own Dr. Cole Abaius, who interviewed director Jason Reitman when he brought Up in the Air to the Austin Film Festival this past fall.

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The Directors Guild of America announced the nominees for its 62nd Annual Awards today, honoring outstanding directorial achievement in feature films.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Avatar, Did You Hear About the Morgans? and Up In the Air can make the grade.

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upintheair_travelrules

Paramount Pictures has started up a pretty cool new website in support of the release of Up in the Air, Jason Reitman’s spectacular film about Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a man who lives his life on the road.

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