Up in the Air script
Up in the Air (2009)
Synopsis: An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), so he takes her on a tour to demonstrate the importance of face-to-face meetings with those they must fire. While mentoring his colleague, he arranges hookups with another frequent-flier (Vera Farmiga), and his developing feelings for the woman prompt him to see others in a new light.

1.

A SPOTLIGHT reveals RYAN BINGHAM standing at a PODIUM.

He unzips a BACKPACK and sets it down beside him.

RYAN:

How much does your life weigh?

Ryan pauses to let us consider this.

RYAN (CONT’D)

Imagine for a second that you’re

carrying a backpack... I want you

to feel the straps on your

shoulders... You feel them?

(gives us a beat)

Now, I want you to pack it with all

the stuff you have in your life.

Start with the little things. The

stuff in drawers and on shelves.

The collectables and knick-knacks.

Feel the weight as it adds up. Now,

start adding the larger stuff. Your

clothes, table top appliances,

lamps, linens, your TV. That

backpack should be getting pretty

heavy at this point - Go Bigger.

Your couch, your bed, your kitchen

table. Stuff it all in... Your car,

get it in there... Your home,

whether you have a studio apartment

or a two story house, I want you to

stuff it into that backpack.

Ryan takes a beat to let the weight sink in.

RYAN (CONT’D)

Now try to walk.

We hear people around us chuckling. Ryan smiles. Reveal:

INT. HOTEL CONFERENCE ROOM - AFTERNOON

The kind that shifts between lower income corporate retreats

and lower income weddings.

The few dozen people seem to be visualizing as told.

RYAN (CONT’D)

Kinda hard, isn’t it? This is what

we do to ourselves on a daily

basis. We weigh ourselves down

until we can’t even move. And make

no mistake -Moving is living.

2.

We see nodding. People’s gears turning.

RYAN (CONT’D)

Now, I’m going to set your backpack

on fire. What do you want to take

out of it? Photos? Photos are for

people who can’t remember. Drink

some gingko and let the photos

burn. In fact let everything burn

and imagine waking up tomorrow with

nothing.

(a beat of emphasis)

It’s kind of exhilarating isn’t it?

That is how I approach every day.

A titter through the crowd.

INT. BOEING 757 - DAY

A FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT is looking directly at us.

FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

Do you want the cancer?

Turn to see RYAN looking back.

Handsome. Anonymous. Right now - Confused.

RYAN:

Excuse me?

FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

(same delivery)

Do you want the cancer?

Ryan furrows - What the hell is going on here?

The flight attendant raises her hand to reveal a CAN OF SODA.

FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

The can, sir?

RYAN:

Oh... No. Um, no thank you.

The flight attendant moves to the next aisle. Ryan takes a

beat, then returns to his work.

INT. SMALL CONFERENCE ROOM, SUN CASUALTY - DAY

Two words - Subordinate chic.

3.

Seated at a tiny table is RYAN. The Grim Reaper in a suit.

We see a series of REAL PEOPLE react to the news of being

fired. They should be non-actors (actual victims of recent

layoffs) that can react organically to the news with

authenticity. Some are hurt. Others are upset and even

abusive. The series concludes with...

STEVE (AN ACTOR)

... who’s on the verge of tears.

STEVE:

Who the fuck are you?

FREEZE on Ryan.

RYAN (V.O.)

Excellent question. Who the fuck am

I? Poor Steve has worked here for

seven years.

FLASH IMAGES:

INT. STEVE’S CUBICLE - DAY

RYAN (V.O.)

He’s never had a meeting with me

before...

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Steve in a small meeting.

RYAN (V.O.)

...or passed me in the hall...

INT. ELEVATOR BRIDGE - DAY

Steve passes a female coworker.

RYAN (V.O.)

... or told me a story in the break

room....

INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY

Steve laughs at a coworker’s story.

4.

RYAN (V.O.)

And that’s because I don’t work

here. I work for another company

that lends me out to pussies like

Steve’s boss...

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Jason Reitman

Jason Reitman (born October 19, 1977) is a Canadian-American[2] film director, screenwriter, and producer, best known for directing the films Thank You for Smoking (2005), Juno (2007), Up in the Air (2009), and Young Adult (2011). As of February 2, 2010, he has received one Grammy award and four Academy Award nominations, two of which are for Best Director. Reitman is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. He is the son of director Ivan Reitman. more…

All Jason Reitman scripts | Jason Reitman Books

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"Up in the Air" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 12 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/up_in_the_air_311>.

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