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Kinky, But Not Hideous: Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin Heat Up Labor Day

By Cindy Davis | Trade News | June 20, 2011 | Comments ()


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Aside from her stunning looks and reported jovial personality, what's wonderful about Kate Winslet is her eclectic collection of roles. She hasn't pigeonholed herself and her choices reflect a woman who takes on strong female characters that are interesting, both to herself and to us. Even just glancing over Winslet's upcoming releases reveals her diversity: she's a CDC doctor in Steven Soderbergh's science fiction thriller, Contagion ; a mother and wife involved in parental brawling in Roman Polanski's dark comedy, Carnage; and she's just signed on to play a single mother beguiled by an escaped convict in Jason Reitman's (Up in the Air, Juno, Thank You for Smoking) adaptation of Labor Day.

Based on a novel by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day is a strange, coming of age tale narrated by 13 year old, Henry. He recounts the events of a hot, summer weekend, when his life was transformed. Adele (Winslet) is his divorced, single mother and former dance teacher, raising the shy and awkward Henry, who longs to fix his mother's lonely and broken heart. After convincing his agoraphobic mother to leave their house for a trip to the grocery, Henry and Adele give a stranger a ride, changing the course of their lives. The man they pick up, Frank (Josh Brolin), is an escaped convict who needs a place to hide. He keeps mother and son hostage in their home, but this is no conventional drama. Instead of the usual weekend-of-terror type thriller, Labor Day has Adele falling in love with her captor and Frank teaching Henry some important life lessons.

The bizarre and offbeat tale fits right into Winslet's repertoire; I'm especially interested to see her play this type of a timid character with an interesting flaw (agoraphobia), after having watched her as strong (though abused) mother, Mildred Pierce. Josh Brolin is a fine choice to fill the role of a convict; I haven't seen him as any sort of romantic lead so I'll be curious to see if he can drum up onscreen chemistry with Winslet. The novel involves steamy scenes of Adele tied to a chair with silk scarves and being seductively fed by Frank. Of course, she is Kate Winslet...she can probably rouse chemistry with a dead body.

Labor Day will begin shooting next year.



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