I sat down with the writer/directorJason Reitman to talk about this new film Thank You For Smoking. He was in good spirits and he should have been, the film is getting great reviews and for a first time director to pull off this fantastic ensemble piece is quite an accomplishment. On Smoking
Reitman doesn't smoke. He tired it when he was 15, but he said it just hurt too much. After this film he said sarcastically that he got some inside information and it turns out smoking isn't good for you. But then again he said the Giordano's pizza he had for lunch would probably kill him sooner.
On being a first time promoter
Reitman has been on tour with this film for quite a while. The best part for Reitman is the food. In each city he is grabbing the best they have to offer (such as the Giordano's pizza). The questions he gets asked can get repetitive at times, though he understands that is the nature of the beast. Plus, he said Fox Searchlight has been amazing in the promotion of the film.
On the Cast
Reitman wrote a letter to Sam Elliott asking him to be in the film, telling him that is would have been very sad if anyone but Elliott got his role. They got into a huge debate on whether Elliott's character would take the money (offered in the film as a bribe by Nick Naylor). Reitman even said he felt like Nick Naylor during that time, trying to sweet talk Elliott into going along with his decision.
Reitman was lucky enough to get everyone he wanted in the cast, which includes Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Katie Holmes and David Koechner.
On the Katie Holmes' sex scene
When the film was shown at Sundance Film Festival, there was an odd omission. The Eckhart-Holmes sex scene was left out. Reitman had to answer questions from the press on whether Tom Cruise forced him to remove the sex scenes. He didn't mind the questions and thought it was amusing. Reitman didn't even think it affected the screening in a bad way. But he did say he felt bad for Holmes, who is a sweet girl, for enduring all the attention she gets.
On bringing originality to the screenplay
Reitman directed and wrote the screenplay with author Christopher Buckley's blessing. The content that was added to the film was mainly Cameron Bright's character (the son of Nick Naylor). In the book, Joey Naylor is only referred too and doesn't have any lines. In the film, Reitman creates an entire character that proves to be Nick's conscience.
On his dad's favorite film
Jason Reitman's father is Ivan Reitman, the director behind films such as Ghostbusters and Father's Day. Jason's favorite films of his dad's are Stripes and Dave. If you look closely, you'll catch Jason on screen in Dave as the vice-president's son.