An Unexpected Hit
Juno's dad and stepmother, played by J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney, are a quirky pair who show unconditional love to Juno in her time of crisis. After weighing her options, Juno decides to give up the baby for adoption.
The search for adoptive parents leads Juno to a suburban wife—played by Jennifer Garner—desperate for a baby. Jason Bateman plays the potential daddy-to-be, a 30-something man who still holds out hope of becoming a rock star.
Director Jason Reitman, who earned accolades for the award-winning film Thank You For Smoking, brings first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody's delightfully witty script to life. With hilarious one-liners, biting wit and a whole lot of heart, Juno is the hit of the season.
"It's really special," Oprah says. "It's the movie to see this year, and it's so fresh."
Ellen, a 20-year-old Canadian actress, says she fell madly in love with Diablo Cody's script the first time she read it. "[I thought], 'I have to do this,'" she says.
Despite her skyrocket to fame, Ellen remains humble about her success. "I'm sitting next to Oprah right now on a couch," she says. "I'm just so grateful to be in the film in the first place. ... It's a huge gift."
"I'm first and foremost an actor, because I love to act. I'm obviously not an actor for [awards]," she says. "Of course it's extremely exciting, and it represents that, wow, maybe I'll get to be in a couple more movies."
Ellen says the recognition has also given her a sense of choice, allowing her to choose roles she is really passionate about. "And that, [to] an actor at any age, is a massive gift."
Jennifer says there was an ease to filming that made Juno something special. "Sometimes everything is a struggle, and you're always trying to find what is going to make a scene work or how to communicate with the other actors," she says. "But this was never hard. It never seemed like work at all."
Every time she watches Juno, Jennifer says she cries. "I cry at different points," she says. Jennifer tells Ellen about one particular scene that always gets to her. "I cry when you're giving birth because it just seems like a little girl shouldn't be going through that," she says. "And you play it with such vulnerability, and it kills me!"
In Juno Jennifer's character is obsessed with decorating the nursery. Oprah wants to know, did Jennifer have the same problem preparing for Violet? "I did a horrible job picking the nursery," she says. "I picked stuff that had no storage and immediately, you know, had a baby and all this stuff came in and I said, 'I need drawers. I need counters. I need things—places to put things!"
Although she says it wasn't her intention, stripping inspired Diablo to write a memoir about her experience. Soon enough, she was contacted by a producer. "He had read some of my writing on the Internet, and he said, 'I think you're funny, you're kind of cool, you should try writing a screenplay,'" she says. Without formal training, Diablo wrote Juno in just a couple months. "I felt like I had the skeleton of something that could be special," she says. "But then it takes amazing actors like these [Ellen Page and Jennifer Garner] to come in."
Diablo says Juno is based somewhat on herself, like the hamburger phone in Juno's room. When Pam first saw the phone, she says it made her cry. "[Diablo] had a hamburger phone at home, and I used to see her on it all the time, and she used to shake it because it wouldn't work properly," Pam says.
Oprah says she thinks Juno is the movie to see this year. "How did you get it to be so fresh?" she asks. "I don't know," Diablo says. "I guess, you know, when you're coming from the middle of the country and you're not part of the industry and you're just telling your own story, I think it's easy to be more original."