Interview with Jason Reitman and Walter Kirn: ‘Up in the Air’

Travel Interviews: Michael Yessis asks the men behind the book and its movie adaptation about Airworld

12.11.09 | 10:26 AM ET

Walter Kirn’s novel Up in the Air and Jason Reitman’s film adaptation share a number of artistic victories, but my favorite is this: the spot-on portrayal of Airworld, Kirn’s term for the travelers’ “nation within a nation with its own language, architecture, mood and even its own currency.” Kirn achieves this with his descriptions of suite hotels on ring roads and aura-sapping artificial lighting; Reitman does so with silhouette shots in airports and what Kirn calls his ability to make “ballet” out of the characters’ Airworld rituals.

More: Beyond Airworld | 19 Great ‘Up in the Air’ and Airworld Links

At a recent press conference, I asked Kirn and Reitman about their connections to Airworld: Did they do any particular research beyond their normal travels, and how close did they feel to Ryan Bingham and the other characters in the book and film who travel through these spaces?

Their answers, captured on video below, reveal a deep connection to Airworld, and much respect for each other’s work.

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