By Diablo Cody (to Eric Estrin)
This is a typical story about a small-town girl who wants nothing more than to take off her clothes in front of strangers and relate it in a raunchy Internet blog, but ends up getting discovered and asked to write a screenplay, which becomes the hit movie “Juno” and wins her an Academy Award.
To me what makes this especially funny is that I spent years making an ass out of myself before I became a public figure, so that’s part of who I am. I don’t think there is a detail of my life in my twenties that I did not share with anyone who cared to know.
I think maybe it comes from growing up in a fairly conservative atmosphere and being shushed all the time.
Then you grow up and say, Oh, I wasn’t allowed to see R-rated movies, so now I’m going to make them.
I was always being told to cross my legs when I sat down; well, now I’m gonna take my pants off.
The blog was an opportunity to try on a totally different persona.
I just invented this name and this life and ran with it.
I never had a big audience in mind when I started writing it, but then a lot of people started reading it and getting in touch with me -- some normal, some totally creepy and disingenuous.
Luckily, the guy who wound up being my manager and producing partner was the real deal.
That’s Mason Novick, who I still work with.
At first I didn’t trust him at all.
I ignored his first few emails.
When you are representing yourself in the way that I was, you can’t really trust anybody who contacts you.
It’s like, they’re probably a pervert or just not trustworthy.
But he was so professional and all business.
He just wanted to make movies.
I said, Screenwriting is not that interesting to me.
To be honest, I was enjoying the kind of gonzo sex writing that I was doing.
But he said, No, writing a movie is easy.
If you can pull this off just once, you won’t really have to work anymore.
You can sit outside and write every day.
And I thought, that doesn’t sound so bad.
I’ll take a crack at this.
I had nothing to lose.
By the time I started writing “Juno” I had quit stripping and started working as a temp at an insurance company, processing insurance claims over the phone.
And my lunch hour would roll around; there wasn’t really anything else to do.
I was like in this industrial office park in the middle of nowhere, so I would just work on “Juno” every day on my lunch hour.
It was pleasurable to me.
Now, every time I sit down to write something there’s money at stake;
my reputation is at stake;
I have to think about how the actors are going to interpret it;
it’s not play any more.
But at that time, what did I have to worry about?
That one dude in California might not like it?
So I just kind of went nuts.
I think that’s why a lot of the dialogue is so stylized and bizarre -- because I was just playing with words.
Mine is a a pretty f---ed up story, and I’m especially cognizant of that now.
To win an Academy Award for my first script -- it just doesn’t work that way.
It’s still funny to me.
I feel like I kind of punked the establishment or something.