‘THE first time I met Charlize Theron, she immediately disarmed me with a dark dirty joke and it hit me… Oh, she’s one of us!’ So says Jason Reitman, who directs the star in the terrific film Tully, a surprising and bitingly funny portrait of parenthood. Theron plays Marlo, a third-time mother whose night nanny Tully (Mackenzie Davis) reawakens her wild side, with dramatic results.
It’s the third collaboration between Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, after the indie hit Juno and the black comedy Young Adult, in which Theron played an unstable woman obsessed with her ex. Reitman knew he’d found his muse right then. ’The same empathy and bravery that allow Charlize to portray all the scope of human emotion in her dramas allow her to go places in comedy that few other have the guts to go.’
All three films have plenty of edgy humour but also heart and realism, a combination of qualities that Diablo and Reitman obviously share. ‘There’s something about the way Diablo writes that captures the flaws of human behaviour without judgement,’ says Reitman. ‘Her version of parenthood felt like my own experience: beautiful but messy and filled with a kind of self-doubt that I feared sharing. Diablo’s writing always makes me feel less alone.’
Both Reitman and Cody have had separate projects since Juno — from his Up In The Air to her Jennifer’s Body — but they’re dynamite together, as Tully proves.
‘For some reason, there is this connective tissue between our experiences that makes us this two-headed being when making a movie together,’ says Reitman. ‘She’s the ears and I’m the eyes, or something like that.
‘There isn’t that much communication either. She writes something and it comes out purely, in one fell swoop. And then I take the baton and run with it.
‘The results are a result of a shared vision that was never discussed or negotiated. We seem to be trying to say the same thing.’
Tully is in cinemas now.