Interviews

Jason Retman and Diablo Cody on Juno


By Mitch Emerson
December 21, 2007 - 10:50

I feel that I need to explain why this interview ended up being so short. See, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody turned out to be two of the nicest and coolest people I have met. When I first got there, Jason, who by the way was wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt, commented on my tattoos. (For those that don't know, I have quite a few tattoos of comic book characters) and then Diablo walked in and literally screamed when she saw the tattoo of Rogue from the X-Men on my leg. So a good amount of the alloted time was spent chatting about tattoos, the IMDB and truck driving. For those interested, I will be posting the full interview with all the chit chat on www.velvetropereviews.com in the near future.

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ME: In Juno. how hard was it to ride that line between being funny and being serious?

Diablo Cody:  You know, that’s always really tough.  Originally I didn’t really set out to write a comedy strictly.  And then it was my first screenplay, so I was still kind of discovering myself as a writer.  As I moved forward I realized it definitely had a comedic voice to it.  It was difficult because I always wanted it to be a little dark, and I always wanted it to be a little emotional but not too much so, so it was challenging.  But the great thing about having a director who really understand the material is that he is very good at establishing tone, and so that perfect balance that you speak of is achieved.

ME:  I didn’t see a lot that was dark, there were some little things….

DC:  Yeah, not much left.  Put it this way, I never imagined a cheerful orange and white poster when I was writing this movie.  But Jason really brightened it up, and I’m glad that he did.

ME:  I understand that you wrote a book so this becoming not quite a celebrity but more and more popular is kinda new, right?

DC:  Yeah

ME:  How has that treated you, and are you happy or do you wish you could go back?

DC:  I’m incredibly happy, but at the same time it is a double edged sword, because you are praised and criticized in equal measure when you become a somewhat public figure.

Chit chat about IMDB

ME to Jason Reitman:  You did a survey for the site trashwire.com for Thank You For Smoking.  I was intrigued by one of your answers.  I’m not a big fan of documentaries but This Film Has Not Yet Been Rated is one of my favorites.  You had mentioned that if you had a billion dollars you would buy the MPAA and change how they do things. Have you had some kind of negative dealings with them?

JR:  No no no, the MPAA has been very good to me.  I don’t like a nanny state in film.  I don’t like being told what to do, I don’t think people should be told what to do, I think people should be left to make decisions for themselves.  That is somewhat at the core of both of my films, that people should be left to their own decisions.

Chat about This Film Has Not Yet Been Rated (which Cody hadn't seen yet) and the MPAA, and JR and DC chatting about their schedule, and truck driving

ME:  I gotta ask, what kind of cool shit is going to be on the DVD?  

JR:  All kinds of cool shit.  Deleted scenes, the original screen tests for the actors, there’s a music video that we cut together, there’s a blooper reel with a fake fight between me and Rainn Wilson, there’s a whole documentary on Diablo going from an internet blogger to a screen writer, some behind the scenes things.  There’s like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 thing, Diablo and I deconstructing a scene like over our shoulders inside a movie theater.  There’s tons of cool shit.

ME:  I’ve always been a fan of the special features.  Nowadays that’s more than half the reason to buy a DVD.

JR:  The cool thing is, also, when you pee on the DVD case it tells you if you’re pregnant.

(laughter)

ME:  Is it harder to direct established actors such as Bateman and Garner or younger talent like Cera and Page who are starting to make names for themselves?

JR:  You know, every case is different, but on this film everything was easy.  It was a delight with Jen, who’s very professional and very warm.  And Jason is like the funniest guy you could have on set, so they make it very easy.  And then Ellen and Michael are so easy going but so good and just tuning in to the perfect tone that there’s not many adjustments.  You asked earlier about tonal adjustments….frankly that’s what made this movie so easy to do is that the actors were always kind of right there on the line and the adjustments that I would make would be very minor.  

ME:  Since Hollywood seems to be very sequel happy these days, at the drop of a hat for movies that really don’t deserve them, what you would see happening in a sequel?

DC:  It’s hard for me to say because I feel so protective of the characters and I love them so much that I really want to freeze them in time and I don’t want them to have to go forward and experience any more.

JR:  You talked a little bit about it…you know how Mark becomes an astronaut.

DC:  Oh yeah, Mark becomes an astronaut.

JR:  And he actually is the first guy to walk on Mars.

DC:  It’s called Mission to Mark.

(laughter)

JR:  And Vanessa and the baby actually become a singing duo, and they take their act on the road and they go worldwide.  But then it’s actually kind of heartbreaking because they get into a fight over like are they artists or do they create product, and it breaks them apart which is kind of sad.  Juno becomes an ice cream inventor for Baskin Robbins and works as a scientist inventing flavors of ice cream.  

ME:  I missed the screening last night but I figured that seeing it twice in one month was enough.  How many times have you guys seen it?

JR:  I edited it so for a few months I constantly was watching it.

ME:  Once you’re all done with this, all the promotions and the DVD is out, how long does it usually take before you go back and watch it.  Like how long has it been since you watched Thank You For Smoking just for the hell of it?

JR:  Start to finish?  I have not watched it completely through.  If it’s on TV I’ll watch a scene or two, but it’s a little hard to watch.  I would watch it with an audience if they’re liking it.  Like if they were going to put it in theaters for a night I would totally go.

And we chatted for a few minutes about Cody's upcoming project Jennifer's Body, but that is a story for another time.


Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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