Film Production Index:
Juno: The Shooting Script available in print 2/4/08
by Diablo Cody (Author), Jason Reitman (Foreword)
Meet Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) a confidently frank teenage girl who calls the shots with a nonchalant cool and an effortless attitude as she journeys through an emotional nine-month adventure into adulthood.
Quick witted and distinctively unique, Juno walks Dancing Elk High's halls to her own tune - preferably anything by The Stooges - but underneath her tough no nonsense exterior is just a teenage girl trying to figure it all out.
While most girls at Dancing Elk are updating their MySpace page or shopping at the mall, Juno is a whip-smart Minnesota teen living by her own rules.
A typically boring afternoon becomes anything but when Juno decides to have sex with the charmingly unassuming Bleeker (Michael Cera).
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, she and best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) hatch a plan to find Juno’s unborn baby the perfect set of parents courtesy of the local Penny Saver.
They set their sights on Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), an affluent suburban couple who are longing to adopt their first child. Luckily, Juno has the support of her dad and stepmother (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney). After the initial shock that their daughter has been sexually active with the unlikely “virile” Bleeker, the family bands together to help Juno.
Dad Mac accompanies Juno to size up the prospective adoptive parents to make sure they are not a couple of “wing nuts” while stepmother Bren provides emotional support as Juno fights the prejudices of underage pregnancy. While fall becomes winter and winter turns to spring, Juno moves closer and closer to her due date.This is a guy who grew up knowing the Ghostbusters personally (and if you were a kid in the '80s, you know that's totally 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 so-called "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 stuff 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 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.
Juno’s physical changes mirror her personal growth while the veneer of Mark and Vanessa’s idyllic life starts to show signs of cracking. With a fearless intellect far removed from the usual teen angst, Juno conquers her problems head-on, displaying a youthful exuberance both smart and unexpected.
A Fox Searchlight Pictures presentation, JUNO is directed by Jason Reitman (THANK YOU FOR SMOKING) from a script by Diablo Cody (Candy Girl) and is a Mandate Pictures/ Mr. Mudd production. Producers are Mason Novick and Mr. Mudd partners Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russell Smith. Mandate’s Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane executive produced with Daniel Dubiecki, Reitman’s partner at Hard C. Jim Miller, who brought the project into Mandate, serves as co-producer along with the company’s Kelli Konop and Brad Van Arragon.
Photos: Doane Gregory / Courtesy of Fox Searchlight