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Interview: ‘Labor Day’-Gattlin Griffith And Joyce Maynard Discuss Josh Brolin’s Pie Making Skills

Interview: ‘Labor Day’-Gattlin Griffith And Joyce Maynard Discuss Josh Brolin’s Pie Making Skills

“When life gives you peaches, make peach pie!”  I guess that’s not exactly the way the saying goes.  But in Jason Reitman’s latest film, one “crucial” pie making scene proves to be a turning point for a broken family that gets a second chance to become whole.

The film is an adaptation of author Joyce Maynard’s critically acclaimed novel.  

Star Gattlin Griffith (Changeling, The Green Lantern) and Joyce Maynard both visited Dallas to talk about the film, the movies that make them cry, and of course, pie.

What was your initial reaction when you got this role?

Gattlin: “I was out of this world!  I was stunned you know?  I couldn’t really get my head wrapped around it.  You always want a role like this, but like once you have it, you’re like: Can I do this role?  I mean you start to think: I don’t know if I’m ready.  But you know, I prepared a lot.  I read over the script a lot.  I don’t really do a whole lot of acting lessons.  But I read over it, and I did my homework.”

Now Joyce, I heard that you taught Jason how to make a pie?

Joyce: “First Jason called me up.  He read my book, and he said the words that I love to hear.  “Your book made me cry.”  Um, then he said, “Can I come over to your house, and see how you make a pie.”  Which if people haven’t seen the movie, they may not understand why.  But it’s a crucial scene in the movie that Josh Brolin’s character, the convict hiding out in Kate Winslet’s house, makes a pie for and with them.  And Jason realized that this was a really important scene, and came over to my house and made a little Iphone movie of my pie.  And then on the first day of the shoot, actually before Gattlin showed up, they flew me to this little town in Massachusetts to teach Josh how to make the pie.  Because I didn’t want it to look like one of those perfect pies that you see on the cover of a magazine, they had, in fact, brought in consultant who was wearing the perfect white jacket.  And that’s not me at all.  I’m a very messy pie maker, and my pies are messy.  My pies look like a pie made by a convict on the run.  But they taste really good, which is sort of what the story is about.  It’s people piecing together, you know, this imperfect thing that ends up turning out good.  You don’t expect it.  If you just looked at my pie, you would say what on earth is this?!  And then you taste it!”

Did you teach him (pointing to Gattlin) how to make a pie at all?

Gattlin: “I kind of just, I guess I winged it.”

Joyce: “And I wouldn’t have wanted to teach him, because, you know, he was learning in the scene. So if he had already been a good pie maker, that would have been a problem.  The person who needed, in fact, Kate didn’t even want to pay too much attention to the lesson.  The person who needed to have command of that pie was Josh, and so I took the tough job of teaching him, and as I understand, I wasn’t around but you (pointing to Gattlin) were…”

Gattlin: “Yeah, he uh, all he talked about was pie making (laughs).  He was like, ‘yeah after my two hour workout I’ll go home and make a couple pies.’ (laughs)  He’d bring them to set everyday.”

Joyce: “Supposedly, by the end he couldn’t give them away, although he makes a really good pie.”

Gattlin: “No, everybody at first was like, ‘Oh my God Mr. Brolin made me a pie!’  By the end of it, everybody was like kind of swaying away (laughs) in the mornings from him bringing pies.”

My favorite line in the film is, “Nothing misleads people like the truth.” I love that line.  Why do you guys think that statement’s so true?

Gattlin: “Well I mean, I don’t know what you went for. (looking at Joyce)  I kind of took it as, there’s so many dishonest people in the world.  I guess that when somebody is telling the truth, it’s so rare.”

Joyce: ”There’s a great scene at the end of this movie, and I’m not going to give away what happens.  But when Gattlin and Kate are there trying to make their getaway, and they go to the bank.  And it’s a question of whether this is going to work or not?  And we’re rooting for them!  We’re rooting for these people to be together and make a family.  And the bank manager is looking really suspicious, and he says, you know, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on?’ And then Gattlin’s character, Henry…” (she points to Gattlin to finish)

Gattlin: “Mmhmm, I mean, can I say it?”

Joyce: “Yes, please!”

Gattlin: “Ok, um, I actually had a really hard time with this line.  It was something about stacking up all our money, and we’re going to make a break for the border, you know, like Bonnie and Clyde .”

Joyce: “Which is exactly what they were going to do.” (laughs)

Gattlin: “And it’s quiet for a second, and then it’s like, did he just give away the secret? And then the bank manager’s like laughing, ok, yeah sure.”

I remember that scene. That’s why I was like, thinking, “God, it’s so true.”

Joyce: “The other great line that I love in this movie, and it is the Valentines day line is, ‘I’d take another 20 years, for 3 more days with you.’  And that’s what we want to hear from the person that loves us.”

It’s one of those films that when you come out of the theater, you’re in a romantic mood and you just want to love love.

Joyce: “Luckily, Valentines day is coming!” (laughs)

For you guys, what other films give you that feeling?

Joyce: “Um, The Way We Were is one that always gets to me, and it has some of that feeling.  And I didn’t sit down and say, I want to make a movie with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.  I said, I want to give people a love story that will make them cry and make them feel.”

Gattlin: “You know there’s this old movie called Fluke.  And it’s actually about a dog, and he has all these friendships.  And he loves all these people, but everybody that he loves goes away at some point.  It’s an old movie.  And I don’t know if anybody’s heard of it, but it’s called Fluke.  It was sad cause he’d make a friend, she’d be lost; he’d make another friend she’d be lost.  And I remember that movie use to make me cry all the time as a kid.”

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality.

Labor Day hits theaters today.

Joyce Maynard and Gattlin Griffith Video Interview

gattlin and joyce

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