Co-star Kate Winslet and director Jason Reitman say Brolin wouldn't stop baking pies for everybody on the set
Josh Brolin’s pie-baking scene with Kate Winslet in “Labor Day” is apt to stand alongside the pottery-wheel sequence in “Ghost” as the gooiest, sloppiest and sexiest cinematic example of a sex scene pretending to be something else entirely.
At least, that’s the early reaction from festival viewers who’ve seen the sequence in Jason Reitman’s film, in which Brolin – who plays an escaped murderer who takes Kate Winslet and her son hostage, but then proves to be a pretty handy man around the house and in the kitchen – teaches his captives how to roll out pastry dough with the utmost sensitivity, and how to mix wet ‘n’ chunky peach filling with sensual delight.
Audiences will get to see the scene when “Labor Day” opens on Christmas Day – and when they do, director Reitman told TheWrap, they’ll be watching a sequence whose sensibility was honed not by watching Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore at the pottery wheel in “Ghost,” but by helping Burger King sell hamburgers.
“Shooting that scene reminded me of shooting commercials,” he said. “The first commercial I ever did was for Burger King, and the guy from Burger King came to me on the first day and said, ‘Look, Jason, you may have the take of your life – the lighting may be pristine, the actors may be pitch-perfect, the camera may move exactly as you like. But if the Whopper don’t look good, we’re going again.’
“That was the only thing he said to me all day, and that was the best commercial advice I ever could have gotten: ‘If the Whopper don’t look good, we’re going again.’ And this scene was back to that. It was all about the pie.”
Apparently, it was all about the pie for Brolin as well. “He would make pies for everybody,” said Reitman. “At first it was really charming – you’d think, ‘Oh my gosh, Josh made me a pie.’ And by the end of the shoot it was, ‘Oh f—, here comes Josh with another pie. Everybody run.'”
Added Kate Winslet, the recipient of many Brolin pies, “I still have his pie dish in my kitchen in England. He would say, ‘I’m going to bake you a pie,’ and I would say, ‘Oh Josh, thank you, that would be lovely.’ Two weeks later: ‘Hey, I need that dish back, I’m going to bake you a pie.’ ‘Oh, OK.’ And this f—ing dish would go back and forth, until in the end I was like, ‘You know what? You’ve got to stop with the pies now.’
“But I am going to give Josh some big-time credit here. We had a pie-baking workshop with [“Labor Day” novelist] Joyce Maynard, who was very specific about the pies. And Josh was very nervous, you know? He’s a guy, he’s got big meat hook hands. He doesn’t belong in a kitchen at all. He belongs with a steak in front of him, not with pastry in his hands. But he was absolutely determined that he was going to drive that scene when we shot it, that he was not going to require a hand double of any kind, that he was going to bake those goddamn things.
“And he really got brilliant at baking pies. We tasted Joyce Maynard’s pie after our pie-baking workshop, and I have got to tell you that Josh’s pies were better.”
She laughed. “It is quite an interesting thing to talk about, isn’t it? It’s like, Brand from ‘The Goonies’ baked me a pie. I do quite like that.”
There’s a quick shot of the pie scene at about the 1:30 mark in this trailer: