Our interview with “Tully” director Jason Reitman

Charlize Theron stars as a frazzled mom who finds the world’s most perfect night nanny in “Tully,” directed by Jason Reitman. Photo: Focus Features

High school counselors who want to combat teen pregnancy should invite the young ladies in their charge to watch “Tully.” The Focus Features movie stars Charlize Theron as Marlo, a frazzled mom of three, including a newborn. Directed by Jason Reitman, it depicts new motherhood as an utter horror show.

Your body and your house are both a wreck. Everything – Every. Thing. – hurts. The baby screams constantly but at least she’s tiny and cute. Her older brother is dancing on your last good nerve. Oh, and literally no one in your life is really all that terribly helpful.

Until, wow! The world’s most perfect night nanny shows up.

I don’t have kids and after watching “Tully,” I’m extra sympathetic to my friends who do. I did get a moment on the phone with Reitman, known for pictures including “Up in the Air,” and who recently filmed “The Front Runner,” with Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart right about the time Hart’s presidential ambitions implode, in Atlanta.

“Diablo and I met 12 years ago,” he said of screenwriter Diablo Cody. “I had just met my storytelling life partner.”

The two paired up before on “Juno,” another complicated movie about motherhood and “Young Adult,” another complicated movie starring Charlize Theron.

“This one has the appearance of being about motherhood,” Reitman said of “Tully.” “I think motherhood serves as a location to talk about this idea of closing a chapter on your life and saying goodbye.”

Although Theron’s enormous baby bump early in the movie is a prosthetic, she put on more than 40 pounds for the role, he said.

“It’s not a prosthetic movie,” he said. “The real beauty of working with Charlize is she’s so real. I’ve experienced this twice now.”

Ron Livingston plays Marlo’s kind but kinda clueless husband.

“It’s a tricky role to cast. You want this guy to appear real. You want him to feel as lost as we all do. Yet he has to be likable,” Reitman said. “You just kind of adore him.”

Kind of. You also might start eyeing your friends’ husbands and wondering if they help enough around the house. Yes, that’s totally unfair but it’s what might happen.

“We wanted to portray a marriage that has sort of gone cold,” Reitman said.

“Tully” makes motherhood seem like a horror show. Photos: Focus Features

Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis, is the night nanny who seems just too good to be true. Anything else would be a spoiler so we asked Reitman about his time in Atlanta filming “The Front Runner.”

He’s a fan of Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as you might have gleaned from “Up in the Air” when George Clooney’s character names it as a go-to spot in Atlanta. Reitman also took a shine to Argosy, One Eared Stag and MR Sushi.

“I love being here,” he said (our interview took place when he was in Atlanta for the Atlanta Film Festival. “It’s a city of film lovers. I don’t think I could have found a better place to shoot it, thanks to the locations, the actors we found here.”

 

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