32nd Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Three
Another crazy day at the Festival: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Police barricades and screaming fans. It was a long and exhausting day, but the talented ensemble behind Juno kept the press entertained at their press conference.
When the film’s writer, Diablo Cody, was asked why she wrote a comedy about teen pregnancy, she replied that, “America needed a black comedy about the scourge of teen pregnancy and I’m here for them.”
Jason Reitman, the director who also brought us Thank You for Smoking, said he promised himself when he started in the business that he would never direct a high school comedy, but then he read Diablo’s script. He’d seen Ellen Page in the film Hard Candy and knew that she’d be perfect for the title role.
Page loved the script too and thought it would be great to play someone outside traditional teen stereotypes.
The love for the script was evident amongst the cast. Jennifer Garner, said she loved the script because her character was superior to Jason Bateman and Bateman said if anyone in the audience had a chance to grab a copy and read it, they would have wanted to be involved too. Actor J.K. Simmons loved the fact that, being a dad himself, the parents had such a great reaction to the news and loved their fascinating quirks. He felt that their relatively calm reaction was quite real, as once you got past the initial shock, you’d roll your sleeves up and figure out how you’d get through it as a family.
Allison Janney also loved the parents roles’, saying that she liked the fact that her stepmother character wasn’t the typical “ugly stepmother” that films often portray. Diablo Cody chimed in that she wrote it that way because she herself was a stepmother of the “non-ugly kind.”
When asked about the stresses of doing comedy, Jason Bateman said that there wasn’t much on this set because Diablo wrote a very funny script without jokes in it. In other words, the humour came out of such a real place that there was no need to spin things for a laugh. The only thing about the script that got his “panties in a twist” was the fact that he had to learn how to play guitar for the role. He kept suggesting to Reitman that they use a finger double since he claimed to have big, fat fingers that hit all six strings at once.
One of the funnier moments of the press conference occurred when Jason Reitman talked about Ellen’s dedication. He mentioned how they made 2 body casts for her 8-month stomach: one of foam and another, heavier, photo-realistic stomach. He said he’d always see Ellen wearing the heavier one. He chalked it up to dedication, but Page revealed that she wore it because the other one smelled like bad eggs.
Finally, Diablo Cody delivered a wry zinger when a reporter asked why she decided to have Juno’s character keep the child. Cody replied that she was writing a feature so “in service of the narrative I didn’t abort the child or it would have been a short.”
Tons of photos. Enjoy.