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JUNO

Writer's Statement
My name is Diablo Cody–well, not really. But who cares? Artifice is typically encouraged in Hollywood, even rewarded. This is a town where our "all-natural” golden girls are (literally) peroxided to the teeth and tanned into nonputrescible leather. A place where sworn enemies swallow their bile and swap "power hugs” on Highland. Even the sky looks like a matte painting on blue-hot afternoons, when the clouds are as firmly set as Jayne Mansfield's hair and the sun blazes immodestly. It's all pretty cool, but it sure as hell ain't real. 

That's just one reason why I'm still slack-jawed with shock that JUNO–a funky little movie that wears its heart on both sleeves–ever came into being. I wrote the script back in Minnesota, a circumstance which should have logically counted as a strike against me. Sometimes I wrote at my kitchen table, sometimes I wrote at the local Target, sometimes I'd sneak a few blocks of dialogue during my precious 15-minute breaks at work. JUNO became my secret passion, and I anticipated our time together like a horny schoolgirl. I don't know if anyone believed that I could actually write a movie, and neither did I. Unlike the moist-browed screenwriters pimping their wares in cruel Burbank, I wrote in a comfortable vacuum. 

Ironically, the person who brought this wholly Midwestern script to life was a quintessential Hollywood boy: Jason Reitman. I mean, he's the scion of a friggin'filmmaking dynasty! This is a guy who grew up knowing the Ghostbusters personally (and if you were a kid in the ‘80s, you know that's fucking rad.) And yet, when we first met above a gun shop on Sunset, he radiated a warmth and authenticity that's in short supply out here. He just seemed way too cool–too real–to be an A-list director's son. Put it this way: I spent my college years watching MTV and leeching off my poor middle-class parents. Meanwhile, Reitman, the socalled "child of privilege,” sold ad space in calendars at USC to fund his first short films. His work ethic belies his pedigree. 

Reitman and I connected instantly, even though he jokes that he was scared of my tattoos. Frankly, I was scared of his talent. I'd mustered up some confidence in the script by then, but I couldn't have anticipated that someone like Jason–an incredible writer in his own right–would put his own shit on hold to direct JUNO. But he did, and within months, we were rolling in Vancouver. It was fully ridiculous. 

There are no words to describe what it's like to watch actors like Ellen Page and Allison Janney breathing life into the inert "blue baby" that is an unproduced screenplay. I'd hang by the monitors for hours, mentally freaking the fuck out. It's hard to say what was more joyful...actually writing JUNO, or surrendering the script to these talented people. 

I've written other screenplays since JUNO and I hope, God willing, that I get to write more. But as Jason has frequently reminded me, you only get one first film. And like Juno MacGuff, who (improbably) finds true love at 16, I was fortunate enough to have been "deflowered" cinematically in the nicest possible way. The entire process-- from writing, to production, to release--was so warm, so exhilarating, and most of all, so real. In Hollywood, that's rarer than the sashimi at a CAA party. –Diablo Cody

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