London Film Festival: Jason Reitman Wishes He'd Directed J.K. Simmons in 'Whiplash'

Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

The 'Men, Women and Children' director also likened the Internet to the black monolith in '2001'

According to Jason Reitman, every director has that "one actor" who somehow speaks their voice.

"And apparently my voice is a guy in his mid-50s who can terrify people the way [J.K. Simmons] does in Whiplash," said the filmmaker at the BFI London Film Festival, speaking of his long-term collaborator Simmons, who has appeared in every film Reitman has directed since 2005's Thank You for Smoking.

Speaking at a press conference for his latest title, Men, Women and Children, Reitman discussed his "natural bond" with Simmons.

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"I can't imagine making movies without him. I'm actually envious of what an amazing job Damien [Chazelle] did with him on Whiplash," he told reporters. "Paul Thomas Anderson once said about Fargo, 'I wanted to be the guy that directed Bill Macy to that performance.' And I look at J.K. and Whiplash and go, 'I wanted to be the guy who directed J.K. Simmons to that performance.' "

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Men, Women and Children, adapted from the book by Chad Kultgen, takes a sometimes terrifying look at how the Internet has changed relationships and communication, and in light of the recent celebrity photo-hacking scandal, Reitman said we're in a "complicated moment" in understanding it.

"I feel like we're the Cro-Magnons at the beginning of 2001, and that giant black slab shows up. We touch the slab, and we're instantaneously given knowledge, and the Cro-Magnon grabs a tibia bone and kills the other Cro-Magnon for the watering hole," he said.

"I think that's the stage we're at as far as the Internet goes, and we're not going to be able to fully understand this moment for another 50 years. We'll look and realize we were wandering in the dark, trying to figure out issues of privacy and issues of what we share and who the characters are that we create for ourselves online."

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