Set in 1987 New England, the story follows Adele, a depressed and isolated woman who over a long holiday weekend falls in love with Frank, the escaped convict who grabs her 13-year-old son, Henry, at a store and forces them to take him to their home and hide him from the police. While he is there, however, it becomes clear Frank is a decent guy, despite the horrific mistake he made years earlier that landed him behind bars. Newcomer Gattlin Giffith plays Henry while Josh Brolin plays Frank and Kate Winslet plays Adele.
"I was involved in the process, but not technically. I didn't have a say in the casting or the screenplay, but Jason Reitman, through it all, was very respectful of me and my book and communicative about it," Maynard told United Press International in a recent telephone interview.
"The first thing he said when he called me up and said he wanted to make a movie of my novel was that he wanted to come to my house and make a pie with me or see me make a pie, which he did. He made this wonderful little iPhone video of the pie-making and that showed me a lot about him because he recognized the importance of that scene," the author said, referring to a poignant moment in the story in which it is apparent a family is being formed as Frank patiently teaches the attention-starved Henry and Adele how to bake a peach pie.
"I did say to [Reitman]: 'I don't want this to be a perfect Martha Stewart-looking pie. I want it to look like a convict on the run could have made it.' Which is what my pies look like. So, then they flew me to the set to teach Josh Brolin to make a pie."
Maynard went on to say she was pleased to see Brolin also understood how crucial the scene was to both the book and the film.
"The whole idea was doing something by hand where you have to follow your instincts, not what's written down on a piece of paper," she explained. "It's a very physical and sensual scene and boy, when [Brolin] did it, the women in the room were sort of swooning and he went on to make a pie every single day of that shoot. He had to look like someone who really knew how to make a pie and, by the end, he sure did. He made a very fine pie."
Maynard said she doesn't wholly agree with the comparison some people have made between the trio's pie-making moment in "Labor Day" and the iconic love scene in "Ghost" in which Patrick Swayze's character romances Demi Moore's while she is working with clay at a pottery wheel to the tune of "Unchained Melody."
"There is the huge difference in that there is a child in the room," Maynard said of "Labor Day." "Henry is also falling in love with this idea of this family he both desperately longs for and is a little afraid of because he is terrified he might lose his mother [to this man]."
Co-starring J.K. Simmons, Clark Gregg, Brooke Smith and Tobey Maguire, "Labor Day" is in theaters now.
Maynard is a prolific journalist, essayist and columnist, as well as the author of more than a dozen books, including the novel "To Die For" and the best-selling memoir "At Home in the World." Her most recent book "After Her" was released last August. Maynard was also recently featured in "Salinger," the documentary about the late, reclusive literary lion J.D. Salinger, whom she dated when she was a teenager in the early 1970s.
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