The Genius of Juno

So, what POP!d out this week?

As if often does, a segment on CBS Sunday morning.

If you don’t already carve out time to watch this weekly TV program, do yourself a favor and give it a try.

You will be rewarded with fascinating, heart-warming, insightful interviews with people doing interesting things in the world. It never fails to put a smile on my face and in my heart and mind.

This week featured an interview with Jason Reitman, the director of this year’s surprise hit movie, Juno.

Jason was given the script and told, “You’ve got to read this.” He was intrigued until it was described as a “teen comedy written by a former stripper.” He was about to pass but was persuaded to give the screenplay (written by Diablo Cody) a chance.

He read it, and the rest, as they say, is cinematic history.

The film Juno, nominated for 5 Oscars, was made for $7 million, has grossed over $100 million and is still going strong.

The heart-warming part of this story is that Jason was interviewed in Art’s Diner in Hollywood with his father, well-known director Ivan Reitman. The interview took place in the same booth that Reitman Sr. met with Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd to sign them up for HIS blockbuster, Ghostbusters.

Jason related how he grew up going to the sets of his father’s movies. He didn’t want to compete with his dad and perpetually be “in his shadow” so chose a different career field, pre-med. As he said, “Everyone assumes that when a child of a director becomes a director, you’re talentless. No one ever questions you becoming a doctor.”

That is, until his father told him, “There’s not enough magic in it for you.” That was enough for Jason to decide to pursue his true passion, film-making. And, at age 30, proudly hosted the premiere of Juno at the Village Theatre in Westwood, the same movie theatre that premiered many of his dad’s films. What a satisfying full circle event.

The two Reitmans demonstrated the comfortable, jocular affection many fathers and sons wish they had with each other. At one point the interviewer asked Ivan if he was going to be attending the Academy Awards with his son. They both burst out laughing as Jason recalled that, as a brash 12 year old, he had the chutzpah to ask his dad, “Why don’t you ever go to the Oscars?”

His dad responded, “I would, if I ever got nominated.”

This year, the senior Reitman will be attending the Academy Awards ceremony, at his nominated son’s invitation.

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