RB: The book Up in the Air, by Walter Kirn, was written before 9/11 changed air travel. The movie was now, when we look at traveling and airport security completely differently. Did you have to make adjustments for that?
JR: Not really. The biggest change in post-9/11 travel is that how you go through security is more detailed—you have to take off your shoes, you can only carry liquids in the 3 ounces, things like that—and then once you're on the flight you just don't see the pilot anymore. Now when the pilot has to step out they put up this wire gate and stand there on watch, and you see him for two seconds as he slips into the washroom. But otherwise, travel for the most part is the same. It's not as if we all used to carry guns on planes. It's not like things changed that drastically in terms of general travel. I at least haven't felt that it was that different.
RB: The three films you've made, Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air, are all pretty similar in that they have really interesting flawed-but-likable characters that really anchor the story. What type of films or characters are you generally attracted to? What is the common thread between Juno and Ryan and Nick Naylor?
JR: Well, I suppose all three of my main characters have a very open-minded point of view on a political issue that is otherwise divisive and polarizing. Nick Naylor's point of view on cigarette culture, Juno's point of view on being pregnant and Ryan's point of view on the concept of being alone in the universe are issues that people, for whatever reason, have very specific and loud points of view on.
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