One of the reasons Up in the Air feels like such an honest look at today's world is that Jason cast everyday people who had just lost their jobs in the roles of the employees being fired. "I recognized early on that I did not have the life experience to speak to this in an authentic way," Jason says. "So we reached out in the community in Detroit and St. Louis, where we were shooting the film, and found people who had just lost their jobs. ... We said, 'We'd like to fire you on camera, and we'd like you to say whatever you said on the day you lost your job, or, if you prefer, what you wish you had said." 

LaMorris, Marlene and Arthur were three of the real-life unemployed who were cast in Jason's film. All three of them say that the role validated their own experiences of being laid off. "What was going through my head was, at the time, I had my family, my wife, my kids and how am I going to support them? Times are hard, the job market's tough," LaMorris says. "It was real." 

Marlene says that, after 27 years at the same company, she was fired with an impersonal letter and is still unemployed. "When it happens, you're basically just going through the motions. You're numb. Then after you process it, you realize that you're not going to see your work friends anymore. You're not going to have a paycheck or health benefits or vacation time or sick leave," she says. "So after it settles in, you realize that by just being handed a letter, in a day your whole life changes."


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