Josh Brolin tones down action man for 'Labor Day'
By Colin Covert
Published: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Josh Brolin is accustomed to man-of-action roles. In his last film, “Oldboy,” he handled interpersonal disputes with a blood-spattered claw hammer. His latest, “Labor Day,” repositions him as the lead of a love story. In his big action scene, he sinks his hands into a bowl of sliced, sugared peaches and bakes Kate Winslet a pie.
“I think I've missed out on something, because I enjoyed it thoroughly,” Brolin says. “It's weird, man. You start to get a complex after a time. It's like, am I not the handsome type? Do they want me for all the ‘Aarghhh'?
“This seemed like a good hybrid between the two.”
Jason Reitman, who adapted Joyce Maynard's novel and directed, challenged Brolin to rein himself in.
“It was an uneasy time, even though we had a blast,” Brolin says. Kate and I had a similar question, ‘Will we fill every moment?' ” with actorly business. “Jason was all about bringing it back, bringing it back. Kate and I huddled up together in our insecurity. Not against Jason, but just like, ‘This is so uncomfortable sometimes,' ” he says.
“As an actor, or maybe it's just me, the paranoia was that it was just going to be boring as all hell. That people are going to say, ‘I love what they're doing, but why is he not moving?' I'd move my hand like that,” shifting it an inch, “and the next day he'd say, ‘Don't do that with your hand.'”
Ultimately, he realized that Reitman wanted him to be still because he trusted “the light in the eyes” to express Brolin's character.
“It was more exposing for me than I've ever felt,” he says.
What most intrigued him about Maynard's novel, he says, was that the menacing convict was elusive.
“There was always this feeling that this guy could turn around at any moment, that it's all been a manipulation. Thinking about things like that (while in character) is important, especially if you're not doing anything. Otherwise, it's dead eyes and you're thinking about lunch. What's it going to be today, lobster or steak?”
Colin Covert writes about movies for the Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jude Law struts his dark side in ‘Dom’
- ‘Skin’ has a lot going on underneath
- Get up close and personal with cute ‘Bears’
- ‘Haunted House 2’ is too much of a bad thing
- ‘Transcendence’ stuck in tropes