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THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

About The Production
Upon its release in 1994, Christopher Buckley's acerbic novel Thank You For Smoking shone a light on the "spin” culture that had taken hold in America. From the White House to corporate boardrooms to Hollywood, the truth had become something to be managed and massaged, but rarely spoken.

"At some point in the late 90's,” THANK YOU FOR SMOKING writer-director Jason Reitman remembers, "one of my friends handed me a soft-cover copy of Thank You For Smoking, saying it was the funniest book she'd ever read and perhaps the perfect book for me. I began reading it that night and found within the very first page a voice I had always been longing for. I had never read narration that was so densely packed with intelligent humor.

"I immediately identified with both Christopher Buckley's voice and that of Nick Naylor,” Reitman continues. "It had this wonderful libertarian point of view that made light of rough things but not in a nasty way. It had a way of saying things that could normally be cruel but were instead hilarious. Every moment in the book appeared to me as a filmic, visual scene. I saw the whole thing coming together in my mind. I immediately wanted to make a movie out of it.”

The young director, son of director Ivan Reitman, studied English at USC and began his career making short films. In 1998, with his short film OPERATION, Reitman became one of the youngest directors in the history of the Sundance Film Festival to have a short accepted for exhibition. His short film IN GOD WE TRUST, premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and went on to play Toronto, Edinburgh, US Comedy Arts, New Directors/New Films at New York's Museum of Modern Art and was honored with prizes at many festivals including Los Angeles, Aspen, Austin, Seattle, Florida, Athens and the New York Comedy Festival.

Thank You For Smoking also had fans at Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, which then co-owned the rights to make a film version of the book. Unfortunately, attempts at adapting the book for the screen resulted in scripts that missed the proverbial mark.

That changed when Reitman presented his ideas about adapting the book in a meeting with Icon. "They had owned the book for almost a decade and had apparently given up on it,” Reitman remembers. "I was hired to take a crack at the adaptation. When I turned in my draft a few months later, no one had any notes. Everyone seemed to enjoy the screenplay as is.”

Reitman tackled the adaptation with the blessing and input of novelist Christopher Buckley. "I gave him my first and second drafts. I can't imagine not working with the author when adapting a book for film. You're working with their baby.”

His solution to creating a worthy adaptation involved a shift in focus to the relationship between Nick Naylor and his son, Joey. "When I first read the book, I thought the question that reporter Heather Holloway asks Nick, ‘What does your son think of what you do?' was the most important question in the book.” Reitman recalls. "What your children have to say about you means something to you, and the answer to that question clearly means something to Nick. When I read that I really grabbed onto it and, for the movie, I wanted to develop who Nick was in Joey's eyes.”

Reitman broadened the emotional content of Buckley's satire by expanding the character of Joey. His screenplay explores the complex questions of what to do when one's professional duties and objectives conflict with good parenting. "I wrote more scenes of Nick and Joey bonding because I wanted to see the two of them come together. I thought that Joey humanized Nick, that if this young boy could love his father, then the audience could.”

Once the script had its emotional and ethical center, Jason Reitman's approach to the rest of the script was, as Reitman puts it, "pretty straightforward. Much of the dialogue is taken straight out of the book.” Reitman is

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