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Josh Brolin talks Labor Day

By Anne Brodie Dec 21, 2013, 21:23 GMT

Josh Brolin talks Labor Day

Josh Brolin aces an unexpected character arc in Jason Reitman’s Labor Day.  He’s Frank, an escaped convict, wounded and bleeding, who scams a ride with a single mother (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) and holds them hostage as he hides from authorities. 

Adele realizes too late that he’s dangerous even as she’s dealing with severe depression and vulnerability. Over the course of the Labor Day weekend, they begin to develop a strange survivors’ bond and begin to help each other.  Brolin takes this violent outlaw and organically brings forth a sympathetic and appealing, if mysterious side.

We spoke with Brolin in Toronto.

M&C: Tell me about Frank and his chemistry with Adele.

Brolin: When it comes to chemistry there's something that you really can't deny. When you have two people that have come out of such isolated situations, one being Frank coming from prison and Adele since her divorce, has become totally agoraphobic and within her own creation. 

She’s reading a romance novel over and over and over and over and she put those two together and they're in such need of human connection, how could they not, if there's anything possible there chemically, it's just two magnets.  They'll figure it out.  You know it's almost undeniable at that point.  We just got it right away.  And Kate's an amazing, amazing person who's not intimidated really by anything or anybody, which was really nice to be around and I think I became like her, you know Gattlin was her first child [LAUGH] and I think I sort of became her second child.

M&C: Did you recognize anything about your own relationships in theirs?

Brolin: In my experience of life and with women is that you know, that, and you can get sucked into it as a man is the hero aspect of things. You know what I mean?  And if you start to actually believe the hero aspect of things it can really kind of muddle things up.  Initially when you're with a woman you start to pick up on the vulnerabilities and the insecurities.  I was in a relationship and I went to this woman's house the first time and within five minutes I was on the floor playing with her cat.  It was uncomfortable for her.  But also at the same time she's like wow, the guy's taking incentive.  How great. 

She was kind of an agoraphobic woman.  It becomes about instinct and how you're playing off each other and it's something that's not really intellectual. I’ve seen those relationships, too, you know, where people are remote.  I was in Switzerland recently and I was listening to this couple talk next to me and it was all about train times.  And it was incredibly uneventful.  But I love this idea of chemistry and reaction and intuition.  But I do think the hero aspect and I think this is this guy, too.  He wants to save her.

M&C: You worked a fine line between tenderness and danger here.  How?   Brolin: You intellectualize it purely out of fear in the beginning.  You know you just don’t want to act badly.  And you want to kind of see Reitman’s vision the best you can and then you know once you get into it you just try and make it real as much as possible.  Once I'm inside it I can't really see it.  I know how I feel.  But you know there's a reason why he chose me to play the part because I come across as being more intimidating than I necessarily am.  My father was 6'4", my mother was 5'2" and I proportionally came out to be able to play this role!

M&C: We don’t know a lot about Frank before he meets Adele. Did that trouble you?

Brolin: I think it's all there.  It's just Jason’s placed it in a way that's more in tune with the character, it's more elusive than “Who is this guy and is he really, what are his real motives and is he going to do this?  Is he going to fall in love?  Is it a manipulation?  Is he just taking advantage of them?” all that kind of stuff.  I think the outcome is perfect. 

You know there are questions in that you’re not positive. It was my experience on “No Country for Old Men” where you keep asking “Who killed the thing and who this and who that?” and then they saw the movie three times.  So that's a good thing, you know.  It's not wrapped up in a perfect ribbon.  Its making you work and I think that that's a really, that's a good thing.  It doesn't happen often.

M&C: I hear you made peach pies on the set almost daily.  Joyce Maynard, the author of the book Labor Day made pies every day for her sick mother.  And she taught you how?

Brolin: I only made one type of pie the entire time.  I made a peach pie every single day.  We were in the small town of Concord, Massachusetts and I had people going to other villages to get me peaches, because I had bought out all the peaches in Concord. 

I found it very important to keep things light because then we have a place to go you know and when we go to that place it becomes much more reactionary and dynamic than if I just live in this kind of dark hole of being in prison in the last 18 years.  That's a very selfish thing of mine, but you get to the place you want.



FROM THE WEB

Further Reading on M&C

Josh Brolin Biography - - Josh Brolin Movies -
Kate Winslet Biography - - Kate Winslet Movies -

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