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Juno’ director Jason Reitman visits OSU

Jeff Barnett / Lantern photographer

Jason Reitman, director of movies such as “Thank You For Smoking,” “Juno” and “Up In the Air” told Ohio State students about his filmmaking inspirations, actor George Clooney’s good looks and the struggle that some actresses have working with him.

“When he’s working with kind of a day-player actress, they can’t say their lines,” Reitman said. “He’s just so damn handsome. I would watch him try to dim his own glow, like try to make himself somehow less appealing, but it did not work.”

Reitman visited OSU to discuss his career as a director and then held a question and answer segment with attendees in the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom at the Ohio Union Thursday.

Reitman, a Golden Globe winner, said he enjoys speaking to schools because he believes that through his young age, he is able to “impart a lot of knowledge that you’re not going to get from other directors” and makes sure to schedule colleges on all his publicity tours so he can talk to students.

He said OSU is the biggest school he’s ever been to.

“I went to USC, a school that I used to think was very big, but now I realized we could fit 10 of them on your campus,” Reitman said. “And we also used to have a football team.”

The 33-year-old Reitman grew up in Los Angeles and is the son of Ivan Reitman, director of films such as “Ghostbusters” and “Kindergarten Cop” and the main influence in Jason’s decision to become a director.

“I originally went pre-med, I thought I was gonna be a doctor, and then my father is actually the one who convinced me to go with my heart,” he said.

He said that it was a “movie moment” when his dad told him that he should follow his heart. Jason said he believes the same advice could be used for any practice in life.

Jason never attended film school, but was an English major at University of Southern California and participated in improvisation groups and wrote film reviews. Seeing independent films and Sundance films in college helped influence the way he makes his films.

“I saw ‘Clerks’ and I remember that just blowing my mind,” Jason said. “It’s like, really? This counts? This is awesome, I didn’t know comedies could be cool.”

Jason said Sundance and other film festivals such as South by Southwest and the Los Angeles Film Festival are critical for an aspiring filmmaker.

“Well, I’m a film studies major and I want to be a director,” said Eric Mancini, a first-year student. “I thought this was very insightful, but I never thought how important it is to enter your movies in film festivals.”

Jason said schools serve a major role in helping students learn, but the best thing to do is be hands-on.

“You can see a lot of movies and you can learn about them, but really the best insight you can get is from making films,” Jason said. “It’s from telling stories, writing stories. I mean, if you’re to become a painter, you should paint, if you’re going to be a sculptor, then sculpt.” 

Many students attended the event because they love Reitman and his movies, but Allison Noss, a first-year student in exploration, attended the event for a different reason.

“I’m not sure what I want to do, so I was hoping this might spark something and be a jumping-off point for me,” Noss said.

Although Ivan had success with the “Ghostbusters” franchise, Jason does not see himself following in his father’s footsteps and creating another “Ghostbusters” movie.

“I would make the most boring ‘Ghostbusters’ movie of all time,” Jason said. “It would just be like guys talking about ghosts, there would be no ‘ghost-busting.'”

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