by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Sherman Alexie on “Up in the Air” by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

First of all, Jason Reitman’s script for “Up in the Air” is great because it’s based on Walter Kirn’s great novel. Much of the movie’s romantic banter is directly taken from the novel (and thank God somebody finally gave Vera Farmiga the Claudette Colbert role she’s been waiting for), but Reitman also added plenty of his own humor, and updated the film to reflect our current economic crisis and increasingly cold and cruel digital culture. But I most loved Reitman’s choice to end the movie with a voice-over. That is a direct quote from the novel. Yes, Reitman honored the source, the novel, while also making the words work for his vision of the story. And that is how great screenplays work.

Sherman Alexie won a National Book Award for his novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”

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