Alan Alda, Jason Reitman at the Bushnell on Life, Film, and Women in Hollywood

The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts in Hartford held a forum conversation between Alan Alda and Jason Reitman. Originally instead of Alan Alda, Rob Reiner was supposed to attend but decided not to show for some undisclosed reason. This subject was joked about briefly before the discussion between Alda and Reitman began. The forum moderator was New York Times writer and critique Westley Morris, of whom shared some humorous stories of his own.

The two conversed about topics such as what it takes to be a director and handling certain actors, growing up behind fathers in show business, and the process of creating content. Also discussed was what it was like to be famous and how to handle die hard fans of TV shows. Alda and Morris shared jokes, Morris specifically described his outrageous interaction with a Netflix star where he freaked out upon meeting.

The Discussion Forum between Westley Morris, Jason Reitman, and Alan Alda

Alda being the more well known of the two due to his period starring in the hit show M*A*S*H during the 1970s and early 80s as well as his many supporting actor roles in film. Jason Reitman has been known for his films such as Juno, Thank You For Smoking, and Up In The Air.

One interesting question that arose during the discussion was why aren’t there more movies made by women? To which Jason Reitman attempted to answer by mentioning how sexist Hollywood and that people need to go out to see the movies made by women in order to generate the money to be deemed successful.

Alda talked about how in the 1930’s, in the early days of film there were plenty of women directors, writers and editors but with women in film these positions fluctuate between decades of prominent women and non-existent women.

Reitman offered the hope for the future by saying “…there has been certain democratization of filmmaking recently because of the digital revolution and while I want to see more women making movies. I want to see more women making movies like Star Wars. What is happening is you have young women filmmakers who are growing up with IPhones, and editing software’s and are learning to become storytellers at the same time and are able to create edit and distribute their films online.”

This topic was the most noteworthy of subjects because of its prominence in pop culture today. One of the biggest budget films that will be directed by a woman in 2017 is Wonder Woman. Women don’t get much respect or notoriety within Hollywood and the film industry which is why female directors need to become normal in the film community.

Digital Media Final jpegAlda mentioned how he has been a devout feminist for his entire life and has worked with some incredible women, namely Michelle Pfeiffer. He notes how men and women share very similar ideas even though they are share their vast differences.

Before the topic of female directors was discussed Reitman mentioned how he was astounded by the ability and performance of Anna Kendricks in Up in the Air noting her fearlessness. The movie Juno addresses issues among women currently. He talked about how he manages to “always surround himself with smart women” and that he “can’t imagine how complicated it is to be a smart woman today living in this country, I would imagine it’s terrifying.”

An influence and partner in film that Reitman has worked with often is Diablo Cody; known for her screenwriting of Juno, Jennifer’s Body, and Young Adult. Cody was mentioned to have a knack for creating stories with uncommon dialogue and exhilarating writing.

Reitman also mentioned how he prefers to work on stories about women because many a times these stories aren’t available. They are the most interesting stories to work with because they are the stories that go untold. With the majority of big budget filmmakers being men, it helps that there is someone who is willing and determined to convey stories from women to the masses.

People can only hope for a brighter future for equality in women and everyone. Alda Alan will be choosing to relax for now after a very successful career. Jason Reitman is currently working on a film titles Tully with writer Diablo Cody to be released in early 2018. But until then, the Bushnell will be hosting a Mothers Day Celebration, Saturday May 13th featuring Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, and Anita Wilson.


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