Monday, February 08, 2010

Up In The Air

Watching this picture reminded me of how I used to want this type of life style in my previous job, which actually allowed me to travel quite a bit. Although I never reached such high levels as Ryan in this movie, I know of people who did. Overall, this is a very nice picture. Loved it.




With the exception of the famous actors, every person we see fired in the film is not an actor but a real life recently laid off person. The filmmakers put out ads in St. Louis and Detroit posing as a documentary crew looking to document the effect of the recession. When people showed up, they were instructed to treat the camera like the person who fired them and respond as they did or use the opportunity to say what they wished they had.


Jason Reitman began writing the screenplay in 2002 when the economy was booming and planned to make it as his first feature. The opportunity to make Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007) presented themselves and he put this off until this year, meanwhile America plummeted into an economic recession. He said the film/s tone changed completely in response to the real world crisis and works much better now as a topical piece than it would have a decade ago, the delays in its realization being fortuitous.




There are no special privileges awarded by American Airlines for reaching 10 million miles as depicted in the movie – this was a case of artistic license by the filmmakers. However, American Airlines (like almost all major airlines with frequent flier programs) does offer special status for reaching 1 million miles. As of 2009, it is estimated that about 400,000 frequent fliers worldwide have reached this plateau in at least one airline’s program. In addition, many airlines – American included – have special invitation-only programs for most of their valued customers, usually CEO’s who can direct a lot of revenue their way. Perks include faster check-in, escorts to make close connections, and in rare cases, free private flights to replace canceled ones.


While at Lambert Field in St. Louis, Ryan tries to make an impassioned speech to Natalie about Charles Lindbergh’s plan The Spirit of St. Louis. Officially, Lindbergh’s plane was a Ryan NYP (New York to Paris) so the two share the same name.


If you look closely, you can see a jar of American Airlines Premium Snack Mix on top of Ryan Bingham’s apartment refrigerator.




The card that Alex (Vera Farmiga) is so impressed by (that Ryan Bingham has) is the American Airlines invitation-only Concierge Key. After the film was completed, Jason Reitman was invited into the program. Started in 2007, it helps members arrange for reservation changes, upgrades, and even airport meetings. It is sent to selected customers, and since it is not advertised, some travelers consider it a rumour.


Vera Farmiga used a body double for her scene. In an interview, she stated that she had no problems being naked in a film but she had recently given birth and “The breast milk running down would have been inappropriate.” 




Ellen Page and Emily Blunt were considered to play Natalie. The role of Natalie Keener was written with Anna Kendrick in mind after Jason Reitman saw her in Rocket Science (2007).


When the character Bob, played by J. K. Simmons, showed Ryan a photo of his two children, it is a photo of Simmon’s real children.


Natalie wears a business suit in every scene in the film. Even at the party she is wearing a suit with the coat off, the shirt untucked and her hair down.

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