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Tag: Jason Reitman (1-10 of 39)

Jason Reitman casts a surprising Han and Leia in 'The Empire Strikes Back' live-read

Really, there’s nothing that says “Han” can’t be a woman’s name.

Ellen Page will be taking on the part of Han Solo in director Jason Reitman’s live stage-reading of The Empire Strikes Back Thursday night, and Jessica Alba has been cast as Princess Leia—the royal revolutionary who thinks the smuggler is nothing but a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerfherder.”

Until, of course, she doesn’t.

The whole point of Reitman’s live-read series is to take classic scripts and turn them into something we’ve never seen before, but he tells EW that casting his Juno star as the sardonic captain of the Millennium Falcon felt as natural as it may seem surprising.

“The Han Solo character is fascinating in that the approach to every other character in Star Wars is earnest and kind of sweet and old-fashioned. The heroes are heroes, and the villains are villains. And within this world, we’re introduced to one human being who looks at it all with irony,” Reitman says, adding with a laugh: “He’s the guy who doesn’t give a crap.” READ FULL STORY

Jason Reitman re-staging 'The Empire Strikes Back' with Aaron Paul and J.K. Simmons -- EXCLUSIVE

Instead of “Yo, bitch …” now it’s “Yoda, bitch.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul will take on the role of Luke Skywalker in director Jason Reitman’s one-night-only live-read of The Empire Strikes Back this Thursday, while fearsome Whiplash star J.K. Simmons will let the hate flow through him as Darth Vader.

It’s part of an ongoing series of live performances of movie scripts Reitman stages each month, bringing in new actors to create a kind of cover version of beloved films. He has previously staged live-reads of The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, American Beauty, and The Apartment, among others.

Today, Reitman revealed just a handful of new cast members, but there will be more to come before Thursday’s performance. Here’s how he put together his team… READ FULL STORY

Jason Reitman re-staging 'American Beauty' for one night with 'Men, Women & Children' cast

Jason Reitman’s L.A. Live-Read series is kicking off its new season with a cast swap.

Each year, The Young Adult and Up in the Air filmmaker hosts a series of one-night-only live performances of classic movie scripts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a new round begins Oct. 17 with Alan Ball’s Oscar-winning screenplay for American Beauty. The readings are like artistic science experiments, following the recipe of a previous film but mixing in new ingredients, so the twist this time is that Reitman has filled the roles with actors from his latest film, Men, Women & Children.

“I had a such a great experience working with the cast that I was looking for any excuse to get them all together again,” Reitman says. “It occurred to me while I was trying to figure out who to put into the American Beauty read that the casts kind of lined up nicely.”

That will bring Adam Sandler to the role of the suburban father in meltdown mode that won Kevin Spacey an Oscar, while Rosemarie DeWitt will take on the part of his perfectionist wife, originally played by Annette Bening in the 1999 Sam Mendes-directed film.

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J.K. Simmons: The friendly face behind this year's scariest movie villain

“I remember when I first met J.K. Simmons, I just sort of told him, ‘Remember how [frightening] you were in Oz? I want to make that guy look like the teacher in Mr. Holland’s Opus.” —Whiplash director Damien Chazelle

Terence Fletcher, the intimidating music teacher in Whiplash, isn’t a sadistic member of the Aryan Brotherhood, like Oz‘s Vern Schillinger. But for Miles Teller’s high-school drum prodigy, Fletcher is practically evil incarnate, a bully whose primary methods of motivation are tossing chairs and playing cruel psychological mind games. He wants his school’s jazz ensemble to be the best in the country, and woe to the student who thinks his best is good enough. There simply is no good enough for Fletcher.

J.K. Simmons has the gift of ease, which makes Fletcher all the more terrifying. You could imagine another actor overdoing it—ranting like an actor playing a madman. A caricature. But Simmons makes Fletcher even more real because of the coolness behind the cruelty. He has these bulging biceps and a bald head, but it’s those eyes—sometimes calculating, sometimes impassive—that are the most frightening. One inscrutable look from him, and even the audience will slouch down in their seats and hope he doesn’t call on them. READ FULL STORY

Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort turn to the web in 'Men, Women & Children'

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Adam Sandler has said he chooses movies based on where he’d like to vacationBlended took him to South Africa, 50 First Dates to Hawaii. But his latest movie, the dark Men, Women & Children, looks like anything but a vacation.

The film, directed by Up in the Air filmmaker Jason Reitman, centers around a group of individuals who gravitate toward the internet and all it offers, resulting in isolation and sadness. Sandler’s character browses escort websites when he’s not spending time with his also-lonely partner, played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, and Jennifer Garner also star.

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Critical Mass: Is 'Labor Day' a peach? Or the pits?

Typically, it’s not considered savvy to open a movie on Super Bowl weekend, what with more than 100 million spending their Sunday afternoon on their sofa, eating nachos, guac, and buffalo wings in front of the Big Game. But Jason Reitman’s Labor Day might qualify as counter-programming. Based on Joyce Maynard’s 2009 novel, the film tells the melodramatic story of a fragile divorcee (Kate Winslet) whose rare excursion out of her house and into town with her 13-year-old son (Gattlin Griffith) is hijacked by an escaped fugitive (Josh Brolin) who demands refuge. But while he looks threatening, he’s a mild soul, and before long, he’s just what the boy and his mother are looking for: a father-figure and a man of the house.

“Once back at the house, Frank ties up Adele, pausing to tenderly caress her foot before spoon-feeding her some chili that he’s whipped up in the kitchen,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty. “At this point, even the most voracious reader of Harlequin romances might let out an embarrassed titter. But that’s just a warm-up for what comes next: the peach pie. Ay-yi-yi, the peach pie.”

The peach-pie scene aims to do for pastry what Ghost did for clay, and viewers will either swoon or eye-roll. The earnest romance is a departure for Reitman, the director best known for Juno and Up in the Air, but with another powerful female performance and supporting cast (Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek), Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t have to be all about football.

Before you head to the theater, read what some of the nation’s leading critics are saying about Labor Day. READ FULL STORY

Jason Reitman adapting Kaui Hart Hemmings novel 'The Possibilities'

The Possibilities, a new novel from The Descendants author Kaui Hart Hemmings, is about four months away from publication, but a film adaptation is already in the works from writer-director Jason Reitman.

The Up in the Air and Labor Day filmmaker will pen the screenplay for the film and plans to direct the story about a Colorado woman who starts a friendship with a mysterious young girl while mourning the loss of her son, who has died in a skiing avalanche.

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Jason Reitman turns to Twitter seeking 'quiet, thoughtful giant' for 'Men, Women & Children'

Jason Reitman wants you for his new film Men, Women & Children — if you’re a teenager who’s over 6-foot-2.

The movie, which shoots in Austin next year, also stars Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, and Rosemarie DeWitt, and the Up in the Air and Young Adult filmmaker has been looking for a young actor to play a football star who gives up on real life and becomes obsessed with online gaming.

But since the director hasn’t been able to find the right person in any of the usual Hollywood casting circles, he has decided to go a little wider: Everywhere.

Reitman posted a segment of the script on his Twitter account, asking followers to give it to anyone they think fits the description.  READ FULL STORY

'Boogie Nights' live read: Taylor Lautner, Don Johnson, and cast giggle through the racy script

“This is a very profane screenplay,” Jason Reitman warned the audience at LACMA before staging his latest Live Read, a recitation of the Paul Thomas Anderson masterpiece Boogie Nights. “It’s one thing to see it. It’s another thing to hear it. If you’re young or religious, you probably should leave now.”

The laughs in the audience suggested everyone knew what they were in for and cheered uproariously as Reitman introduced his cast, which included Taylor Lauter as Dirk Diggler, Don Johnson as Jack Horner, Judy Greer as Amber Waves, Mae Whitman as Rollergirl, Nick Kroll as Reed, Jim Rash as Buck, Nat Faxon as Scotty J., and Kevin Pollack as The Colonel.

Boogie Nights is of course about porn, the transition from film to video and the perhaps forgotten art of the well-crafted pornographic movie, a young lost soul looking for a mother figure, and Dirk Diggler’s penis. His very, very large penis. At one point Reitman even said “d-ck” instead of “Dirk” while reading the stage directions. As everyone laughed, Reitman jumped in to explain: “It actually says that.”

If you’re squeamish about penis references you probably shouldn’t continue reading. Or see Boogie Nights. But, you’d be missing out.

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Toronto 2013: Alfonso Cuaron's hypnotic 'Gravity' is the space odyssey as head trip

A paradox of watching special-effects films in the all-fantasy-all-the-time CGI era is that you can go to the movies every week, especially in the summer, and experience things that really ought to seem magical — a man of steel zipping through the air, an endless zombie army shimmying over a wall, cracks opening in the earth as the world ends — and as entertaining as much of this stuff is, none of it, at heart, leaves you truly, deeply amazed, because eye-popping visual miracles have become so routine that they’re simply the new normal. (How far we’ve evolved from the days of “You’ll believe a man can fly!”) But when you watch Gravity, a tale of floating astronauts starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, set in what used to be called outer space (and now might be called 600 kilometers over the earth), you may find yourself thinking, over and over again, “How the heck did they do that?” It’s not because you’re seeing anything that’s all that outrageously fanciful. Gravity, though it’s set in space, isn’t really science fiction. It’s a drama built around the technology of space travel as it more or less exists today. What’s astonishing about the film is its hypnotic seamlessness — the way that the director, Alfonso Cuarón, using special effects (and 3D) with a nearly poetic simplicity and command, places us right up there in space along with the people on screen.

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