"Up In The Air" director Jason Reitman — saddled with a bit of script credit controversy of late — stopped by Bill Simmons' podcast over at ESPN yesterday to discuss topics like the Golden Globes, his reaction when "Avatar" won, Clooney vs. Bridges 2010, and what NBA coach he would most equate his directing style to.
For those of you (probably a lot) who aren't familiar with Simmons, he is primarily a sports columnist (ESPN, duh) but in his podcasts he often tends to talk about movies and television with critics, actors, and whoever else he decides to bring on. (The guy loves "The Wire." So at least you know he has decent taste.)
During the 60-minute podcast, Reitman touched on some interesting points that we haven't heard him discuss anywhere else.
For one, he talked about how the role of Ryan Bingam was written for Clooney, but that he had a surprising back up choice if the A-lister turned down the role: Comedian Steve Martin.
"[If it wasn't] George, I would have completely rewritten the role and made it much more like 'Lost In Translation' was for Bill Murray. That was my backup plan." We enjoyed the Clooney version but Martin in a role like that would be intriguing to say the least. Reitman also hinted at his next projects. While he didn't go into too much detail, he did mention two sports projects, one a football project and one a hockey film.
"I'm actually about to start writing my next screenplay next week...I've got a book that I'm adapting. I've got a 5 day trip planned to Palm Springs to write."This is likely his adaptation of Joyce Maynard's new coming of age novel, "Labor Day," which Reitman confirmed in December of 2009 would be his next project (though it already looked like it was next).
"I'm working on a football movie. This football idea is a strange one. It doesn't even take place in modern football and it's based on a short story."This is very likely the football project, "Whispers in Bedlam" that was announced in the trades earlier this year as part of his new Right of Way Films production shingle. As /Film thoroughly noted, this is a project based on story by Irwin Shaw and written by Matt Spicer and Max Winkler — Spicer is one of the co-writers of "The Adventure's Handbook" and the upcoming film, "Ceremony" starring Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano and directed by Winkler. It's a comedy about a football player with hearing problems who receives experimental surgery and finds himself suddenly able to hear everyone talking from far distances.
I also have an idea for a referee hockey movie. Honestly, 'Slapshot' makes hockey movies difficult. Like 'Bull Durham' does for baseball or 'Hoosiers' and 'White Men Can't' Jump do for basketball.The hockey idea is definitely something we've never heard before (and to our knowledge never reported). From what he mentioned, while in Palm Springs he is going to hole himself up in a hotel and get as much writing done as possible. He also said that he just sold another project yesterday that he wasn't at liberty to talk about.
The hockey movie doesn't surprise us (he is Canadian after all) and they joked that the football movie would be "Leatherheads 2" but we're sure he will do something much more interesting with the genre. He obviously has a lot on his plate in the near future, but "Labor Day" does look like his next directing gig which is good, because it's definitely in his wheel house.
So, back to Cameron and "Avatar." Was he pissed? Nope, but he does throw someone else under the bus. “I was under the impression that he (Cameron) would win director and Avatar would win picture. I went back and watched it and I didn’t think I looked that weird. Quentin looked just as, if not more mad than me. I think he thought he had more of a chance to win.”
You can check out the entire podcast over at Simmons' blog here.