A friendly warning to anyone planning on seeing Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" later this year: don't go to the theatre on an empty stomach, because you might come out with a serious craving for peach pie after watching Josh Brolin, who plays an escaped convict, teach a single mother (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) how to make the perfect pie from scratch.
It's such a key scene in Reitman's new film, which was adapted from Joyce Maynard's 2009 novel and recently premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival, that Brolin underwent considerable training in order to ensure his pie-making was suitably authentic.
To start, he picked up the recipe from Maynard herself, who also taught Winslet and Reitman the basics prior to filming. "The history of the pie is this," explained Reitman during a festival press conference, "When her mother became sick, she said 'I don't want to watch my figure anymore,' and Joyce made a pie for her mother every single day. And she became a brilliant pie maker." Such an expert, in fact, that Maynard started teaching others how to make it too, and included a detailed tutorial in "Labor Day."
So, knowing the importance of the pie scene, Brolin started experimenting on his own after his initial lesson with Maynard. And according to Reitman, "Josh made a pie every single day over the course of the shoot." Which meant he always had one on hand for the cast or crew, or the teamsters, who Brolin considered "the real test."
Eventually, it got to the point where the actor's new-found hobby was starting to affect the local peach supply in the small town of Concord, Massachusetts, where "Labor Day" was shot. "I had people going to other villages to get me peaches, because I had bought out all the peaches," recalled Brolin.
Reitman, who considers his leading man to be "the picture of masculinity," knew the actor was serious about prepping for the role, but didn't realize he'd get so into the daily baking regimen. "When you show up at his cottage and he's wearing an apron and he's over the moon about the crust he achieved that day or the juices that were able to come out ... it's a very different side," laughed Reitman.
Still, it was a side that the director approved of, since he and the cast got to enjoy the fruits of Brolin's labour -- for a little while at least.
"He would give the pies to everybody," Reitman explained. "And at first it was really charming. Like, 'Oh wow, Josh made me a pie.' By the end of the shoot, it's like, 'Oh f--k, he made me a pie."
Check back on Moviefone for our full interview with Josh Brolin for "Labor Day," which is set for wide release at the end of 2013.