Jason Reitman
Reitman in 2012
Born (1977-10-19) October 19, 1977 (age 46)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Canada
  • United States
  • Film director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
  • actor
Years active1988–present
Michele Lee
(m. 2004; div. 2014)
RelativesCatherine Reitman (sister)

Jason R. Reitman ( /ˈrtmən/; born October 19, 1977)[1] is a Canadian–American filmmaker. He is best known for directing the films Thank You for Smoking (2005), Juno (2007), Up in the Air (2009), Young Adult (2011) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). He has received one Grammy Award, one Golden Globe and four Academy Award nominations, two of which are for Best Director. Reitman is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. He is the son of director Ivan Reitman, and known for frequently collaborating with screenwriter Diablo Cody.

Early life

Reitman was born in Montreal, Quebec,[1] the son of Geneviève Robert, an actress sometimes billed as Geneviève Deloir, and Slovak-Jewish film director Ivan Reitman (1946–2022). Reitman has two younger sisters: Catherine Reitman, an actress, producer and writer, who is three years younger, and Caroline Reitman, a nurse, who is twelve years younger.[2]

Reitman's father was born in Czechoslovakia, to Jewish parents who were Holocaust survivors. Reitman's paternal grandfather ran a dry cleaner and then a car wash.[2]

His mother is from a Christian background and of French-Canadian descent; she converted to Judaism.[3][4][5] When he was still a child, his family moved to Los Angeles.[6]

His father, Ivan, directed the films Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, Stripes and Kindergarten Cop. Reitman grew up on set, and has photos of himself as a baby on the set of Animal House in 1978;[2] Bill Murray described Reitman as "a pain in the ass" while filming Ghostbusters, with Dan Aykroyd joking that "he was directing back then".[7] Such experiences showed him that making movies is "a job that people do, that it's not just this piece of magic that happens".[2]

Jason described his childhood self as "a loser... a movie geek... [and] shy."[8] In the late 1980s, Reitman began appearing in small acting parts and serving as a production assistant on his father's films. He spent time in the editing rooms of his father's movies, learning the process.[8]

Reitman graduated from Harvard-Westlake School in 1995; Reitman was a high jumper in high school, coached by Occidental College Hall-of-Famer Phil Sweeney.[9]

Reitman attended Skidmore College and was going to major in pre-med studies before transferring to the University of Southern California (USC) to major in English/Creative Writing. At USC, he performed with improv group Commedus Interruptus.[10]

Film career

Reitman started out making short films during his time at USC.[2] Throughout his 20s, instead of accepting offers to make commercial feature films, Reitman began making his own short films and directing commercials. Although he was offered the opportunity to direct Dude, Where's My Car? on two occasions, he declined.[8]

Reitman's first feature film, Thank You for Smoking, opened in 2005. Reitman developed the Christopher Buckley novel into a screenplay and, eventually, a film. The film was a commercial and critical success. It grossed over $39 million worldwide by the end of its run, and was nominated for two Golden Globes. After the success of Thank You for Smoking, Reitman mentioned in an interview that his next film would be adapting another book (a "white collar satire") into a film. He also mentioned that he had plans to work with Buckley again on an original project.[11] Although the first of these projects would eventually become Up in the Air, this second project has not come to fruition.

His second film, Juno, generated great buzz after it premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival[12] and was released in December 2007. It was Roger Ebert's favorite film of 2007 and received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Elliot Page's performance as the title character, Diablo Cody's original screenplay, and Reitman himself for Best Director. Reitman did win other awards for his work on Juno, including Best Director at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards. The film grossed over $140 million at the U.S. box office, making it the largest success of Reitman's career and more successful than any of his father's films since Kindergarten Cop.[13] Brad Silberling was originally attached to direct the film, but he dropped out over casting differences.[14] Reitman was in the middle of writing a screenplay when he came on board to direct Juno and, at one point, he expressed intent to finish writing and to direct this screenplay.[15]

In March 2006, Reitman formed the production company "Hard C Productions" with producing partner Daniel Dubiecki. The company had an overall deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures, the company that distributed Reitman's first two films. Reitman described his production company's goal as being to produce "small subversive comedy that is independent but accessible".[16] Reitman states that he and Dubiecki "want to make unusual films, and anything that turns a genre on its ear".[17] Through Hard C Productions, Reitman is set to produce and direct Banzai Shadowhands, a comedy about "a once-great ninja who is now living a life of mediocrity". Shadowhands will be written by The Office's Rainn Wilson. Reitman met Wilson on the set of his father's film My Super Ex-Girlfriend, in which Wilson had a supporting role.[16] No start date for filming has been set, and it is unclear as to whether or not Wilson is finished with the script.

Hard C Productions produced films The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things and Jennifer's Body. Anatomy has been written by Matthew Spicer and Max Winkler, and will revolve around "a Gotham bookstore clerk who discovers a museum devoted to his life".[18] Jennifer's Body is a horror comedy written by Diablo Cody and starring Megan Fox, about a cheerleader who is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a Minnesota farming town.[17] In 2009, Reitman left Hard C to form Right of Way Films.

In 2001, the year the novel Up in the Air was published, Sheldon Turner discovered the book and wrote a screenplay adaptation, which he sold to DreamWorks in 2003. Jason Reitman later came upon the novel (initially attracted by the Christopher Buckley blurb on the cover) while browsing in the Los Angeles bookstore Book Soup.[19][20] Reitman persuaded his father Ivan Reitman to purchase the book's film rights, and the elder Reitman commissioned a screenplay from Ted and Nicholas Griffin, who used some elements from Turner's script in their own work. Jason Reitman then developed his own screenplay, incorporating some of the elements from the Griffins' script that had (unbeknownst to Reitman) originated with Turner. Some of Turner's inventions that were utilized in the final film include Ryan's boilerplate termination speech ("Anyone who ever built an empire or changed the world sat where you're sitting right now..."), a key plot point involving a suicide, and the character of Ryan's partner (written by Turner as male).[20][21]

Reitman at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival

Reitman initially attempted to claim sole credit for writing the film, and later admitted to being confused when the Writers Guild of America ruled that he should share credit with Turner. He and Turner later appeared at a WGA event where both said they were happy to share credit now that the course of events, and Turner's contribution to the final product, had been made clear.[20][21]

In the spring of 2009, Reitman directed Up in the Air starring George Clooney. Up in the Air is based on a novel written by Walter Kirn about a corporate downsizer who travels from city to city and is fanatical about collecting his ten millionth frequent flier mile. The film features real-world characters cast from the ranks of the recently downsized. "Hidden within a film that seems to be about corporate termination and the economy is a movie about the decision whether to be alone or not," noted Reitman,"[22] in an interview conducted just prior to the film's nationwide release. Sheldon Turner and Reitman's Up in the Air screenplay won the Golden Globe Award for best screenplay in 2010.

Reitman was also an executive producer of the erotic thriller Chloe, theatrically released by Sony Pictures Classics on March 26, 2010.[23] Reitman helped persuade Amanda Seyfried to star in the film.[24] The film enjoyed commercial success and became director Atom Egoyan's biggest moneymaker ever.[25]

On January 15, 2019, Reitman announced he would be working on Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a continuation of the original Ghostbusters films directed by his father.[26][27] Originally set for a June 2021, release, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the release date was pushed back to November 11, 2021.[28] After the success of the film, both Reitman and his writing partner Gil Kenan had signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to develop more projects.[29] Reitman was set to return to direct the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife entitled Frozen Empire, but later was replaced by Kenan, who remains as a producer and co-writer in the film, was released in 2024.[30]

Other work

Before his feature film career began, Jason Reitman wrote and directed six short films. He financed his first short film, Operation, with money he made by selling ads in desk calendars. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998.[31]

He was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on April 10, 2008; when he was asked if he would direct Ghostbusters III and cast Howard, he said: "Do you know how many times I get asked if I want to do Ghostbusters III? Looking at my career so far, I mean, if you just looked at my two films, I would make the most boring Ghostbusters movie. It would just be people talking about ghosts, there wouldn't be any ghost-busting in it." Stern, a friend of Ivan Reitman, also revealed that he had seen Jason's early short films and was impressed enough to offer him the opportunity to direct an episode of Son of the Beach (a TV series he produced, a goofy parody of Baywatch), which Jason declined, citing that he was busy obtaining financing for Thank You for Smoking at the time.

Reitman produced and directed the 2007 holiday season commercials for Wal-Mart with advertising agency Bernstein-Rein. He has also directed ads for Burger King, Nintendo, BMW and Buick.[31] In television, Reitman directed two episodes of The Office entitled "Local Ad" and "Frame Toby". Reitman also directed a three-part pretaped sketch for the NBC show Saturday Night Live called "Death by Chocolate," about a walking candy bar, played by episode host Ashton Kutcher, who murders people; stabbing a homeless man, shooting a doctor, cutting off a life support machine on a coma victim and slicing Andy Samberg (dressed as a lumberjack) with a chainsaw.

Since 2011, Reitman directs the Live Read series, a monthly live staged reading of film scripts as part of the Film Independent at LACMA.[32]

In 2020, Reitman directed The Princess Bride, a television adaption of novel of the same name for Quibi featuring an ensemble cast to raise money for World Central Kitchen.[33]

Personal life

Reitman is a self-described libertarian.[34]

When Reitman was 16 and still in high school, he moved in with a woman ten years his senior. They separated after 7 years.[2]

In 2000, when he was 23, Reitman started dating his next-door neighbor, writer Michele Lee, with whom he co-wrote the 2004 comedic short Consent.[citation needed] They married and have one child, a daughter named Josie, born in 2006.[35] After being together for ten years, Reitman filed for divorce in June 2011 and was divorced as of 2014.[2][35]


Short film

Year Title Director Writer Producer Actor Role Notes
1998 Operation Yes Yes Yes Yes Woodsy Freedom Fighter
1999 H@ Yes Yes No No
2000 In God We Trust Yes Yes executive Yes W.F.F.
2001 Gulp Yes Yes No No
2002 Uncle Sam Yes Yes No No Documentary short
2004 Consent Yes Yes No No

Feature film

Jason Reitman at Men, Women & Children premiere in 2014
Year Title Director Writer Producer
2005 Thank You for Smoking Yes Yes No
2007 Juno Yes No No
2009 Jennifer's Body No No Yes
Up in the Air Yes Yes Yes
2011 Young Adult Yes No Yes
Jeff, Who Lives at Home No No Yes
2013 Labor Day Yes Yes Yes
2014 Men, Women & Children Yes Yes Yes
2018 Tully Yes No Yes
The Front Runner Yes Yes Yes
2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife Yes Yes No
2024 Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire No Yes Yes
TBA SNL 1975 Yes Yes Yes

Executive producer

Acting roles

Year Title Role
1988 Twins Granger Grandson
1989 Ghostbusters II Brownstone Boy #2
1990 Kindergarten Cop Kissing Boy
1993 Dave Vice-president's Son
1997 Fathers' Day Wrong Kid in Alley


Year Title Notes
2007–2008 The Office Episodes "Local Ad" and "Frame Toby"
2015 Casual Also executive producer
2020 Home Movie: The Princess Bride Miniseries

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Title Category Result
2007 Juno Best Director Nominated
2009 Up in the Air Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated

BAFTA Awards

Year Title Category Result
2009 Up in the Air Best Film Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Won

Golden Globe Awards

Year Title Category Result
2009 Up in the Air Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Won

Other awards

Year Award Category Title Result
2005 Independent Spirit Awards Best Screenplay Thank You for Smoking Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Screenplay Won
National Board of Review Best Directorial Debut Won
Norwegian International Film Festival Audience Award Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Best First Feature Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Most Promising Director Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Breakthrough Filmmaker Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
2007 Alpe d'Huez International Comedy Film Festival Grand Prix Juno Won
Canadian Comedy Awards Best Direction Won
Christopher Award Feature Films Won
Gijón International Film Festival Special Prize of the Young Jury Won
Grammy Award Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman's Vanguard Award Won
Rome Film Fest Golden Marc'Aurelio Award Won
St. Louis International Film Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Won
Stockholm Film Festival Audience Award Won
Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award 2nd place
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Director Nominated
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina Best Foreign Film Nominated
Amanda Award Best Foreign Feature Film Nominated
Argentinean Film Critics Association Award Best Foreign Film, Not in the Spanish Language Nominated
Bodil Awards Best American Film Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Director Nominated
Gijón International Film Festival Best Feature Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Director Nominated
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Best Non-European Director Nominated
Robert Award Best American Film Nominated
2009 AFI Award Movie of the Year Up in the Air Won
Austin Film Critics Award Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Best Director Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Won
National Board of Review Best Adapted Screenplay Won
New York Film Critics Circle Best Screenplay 2nd place
PEN Center USA West Literary Award Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award Director of the Year Award Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Adapted Screenplay Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Adapted Screenplay 2nd place
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay
(tied with Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds)
USC Scripter Award
(shared with Walter Kirn)
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Best Director Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Director Nominated
David di Donatello Award Best Foreign Film Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directing – Feature film Nominated
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Best Non-European Director Nominated
London Critics Circle Best Director of the Year Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Best Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award Nominated
Robert Award Best American Film Nominated
Rome Film Fest Golden Marc'Aurelio Award Nominated
Satellite Award Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Best Director Nominated
Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse Award Nominated
2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman's Vanguard Award
(shared with Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt and Diablo Cody)
Young Adult Won


  1. ^ a b "Crew: Jason Reitman, Director, Co-Screenwriter, Producer". Up In the Air (official site). Archived from the original on November 21, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
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  4. ^ Lamble, David (December 17, 2009). "Frequent flier brings the bad news". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  5. ^ Hanau, Shira (February 15, 2022). "Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters director, Auschwitz survivor son, dies at 75". The Jerusalem Post. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on February 14, 2022. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
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  11. ^ Wines, Shawn. "Lobbying is Kind of Funny Archived 2007-10-16 at the Wayback Machine", Ignore Magazine, 2006. Retrieved on January 10, 2008.
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  13. ^ "Juno – Box Office Mojo", Box Office Mojo, January 3, 2007. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
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  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 9, 2009). "Reitman on origins of 'Air': Pic inspired by Buckley quote in book". Variety. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
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  22. ^ "Jason Reitman: Up In The Air". SuicideGirls.com. December 23, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  23. ^ "Chloe".
  24. ^ "The great entertainer".
  25. ^ Pevere, Geoff (December 7, 2010). "The Digital Revolution: Part 1". The Star. Toronto.
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  27. ^ Alexander, Bryan (January 15, 2019). "'Ghostbusters' is returning: Jason Reitman to direct a new movie in the original universe". USA Today.
  28. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 1, 2021). "Sony's 'Uncharted' Movie Adaptation Starring Tom Holland Going A Week Later Next Winter". Deadline. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  29. ^ Vlessing, Etan (November 29, 2021). "Jason Reitman, Gil Kenan Ink Sony Pictures Overall Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  30. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 5, 2022). "'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' Sequel Taps Gil Kenan To Direct With Previous Cast Returning". Deadline. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
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