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This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Kate Winslet in a scene from ‘Labor Day.’ (AP)
Winslet puts life in motherhood roles Actress plays a single mom in ‘Labor Day’

TORONTO, Jan 30, (Agencies): Before a reporter has barely entered the room, Kate Winslet has defused any formality. After shedding her heels, she announces her exasperation about actors (especially herself) talking about themselves. “Don’t you find yourself nodding off and going, ‘Here they go again’?” she asks. “I know that I love my job. I (expletive) hate talking about how much I love my job because how can you talk about that without sounding really indulgent?” She may be a regular honoree at awards shows and a constant presence in prestigious projects from “Sense and Sensibility” to “The Reader.” But Winslet, who grew up in a large, working-class family outside London, has an uncommon candor and easy uninhibitedness that has made her both an engagingly down-to-earth personality and a naturalistic actress with quick access to deep emotions.

Winslet was seven-months pregnant at an interview last September at the Toronto International Film Festival, where she debuted “Labor Day,” a Jason Reitman-directed drama opening in theaters Friday. In December, she gave birth to a boy, her third child and first with her third husband, Ned Rocknroll, the nephew of billionaire Richard Branson. (Winslet has a child with each previous husband, Sam Mendes and Jim Threapleton.)
Parenthood was a particularly obvious conversation subject for Winslet, not just because she was pregnant at the time, but because she has recently strung together a series of memorable, varied portraits of motherhood. It’s no coincidence, she says.

Transforms
“I have been a parent since I was 25,” says the 38-year-old Winslet. “That’s a large chunk of my adult life. Mother or father, it transforms you completely.”
In “Labor Day,” based on the Joyce Maynard novel, she plays a single mom, Adele, with a 13-year-old son (Gattlin Griffith) in a small New England town. An escaped convict (Josh Brolin) upends their domestic life when he kidnaps them and hides out at their house. But it’s not terror that follows: The convict is a gentle, welcome presence in a home that has lacked for a man. Left by her husband after several miscarriages, Adele had turned into a virtual shut-in, but is slowly awakened again by an unlikely love.

It’s a clear career pivot toward drama for Reitman. But he also sees a commonality in a tale of a kind-hearted convict following films about a big-tobacco lobbyist (“Thank You for Smoking”), a pregnant teenager (“Juno”) and a guy who fires people for a living (“Up in the Air”). “These apparently are my heroes,” he says.
Reitman wrote the screenplay from Maynard’s novel with Winslet specifically in mind, and waited a year for her schedule to open up. (He filled the gap with “Young Adult.”)
“I don’t know another actress who knows how to deal with this kind of brokenness and vulnerability and make it so sensual,” says Reitman. “There’re a lot of actresses who can play broken people, but she does it without judging them. She does them and allows them to bloom at the same time.”
Though playing a mother in movies often means being relegated to the outskirts of the drama, Winslet’s characters have had lives that aren’t defined solely by children, but remain passionate, complicated individuals.

Stay-at-home
In “Little Children,” she played an unhappy stay-at-home suburban mom drawn to a neighborhood father. “Revolutionary Road,” too, dealt with a loveless marriage in the suburbs, with a kid on the way. The play-adaptation “Carnage” presented a pair of Brooklyn parents arguing over their sons’ schoolyard fight, an evening that steadily dissolves into chaos. (The parents are no better, or are perhaps even worse, than the children.)
But the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce” was Winslet’s greatest examination of motherhood. She played a striving, Depression-era woman separated from her husband and heartbroken by a spoiled teenager daughter.
“That film kind of almost saved my life,” says Winslet. “It came along at a time when I was going through my divorce with Sam. Anyone who’s been through divorce will know that every day is really hard. There were days on ‘Mildred’ where I would just think, ‘I actually don’t know how I’m going to get through this day.’ Somehow, I think, because the character I was playing was actually my life, it was almost like therapy.”
Winslet’s acting, though, has been fueled by being an outlet from her more humble day-to-day life.
“As an adult and a parent, when I’m not acting, I’m not acting,” says Winslet. “I’m being a parent and I’m on the school run and I’m sowing labels onto socks. That’s what I’m doing. So when I do it, it’s just such a treat. It’s such a privilege and such a pleasure. It’s almost like my time. It’s the one thing I do that’s marked for me.”


For her previous children, Winslet largely cleared out her schedule entirely, deciding when to dive back to work after birth. Now, though, she says she has to carefully plan every film far in advance, scheduling around her kids. Also, the “Titanic” star adds, “I can’t leave it perhaps as much to chance as I was able to in my 20s when I was, I think, much louder and exploding in so many ways.”
She has several films upcoming, including the anticipated young-adult dystopian adventure “Divergent” (she plays the villain) and the Alan Rickman-directed “A Little Chaos,” about a pair of landscape gardeners who compete to create a fountain at Versailles. With family life making her particularly selective, she says she’s especially motivated to avoid anything “workaday”: “I never want to have that feeling,” she says.
“For me, the stakes get higher because I do so little,” says Winslet. “I do absolutely want to feel absolutely stretched and pulled and chewed and spat out and trodden on — all of those things. It’s my big burst of creativity and I want to be able to make the most of those moments.”

Review
If you’ve seen the trailer for “Labor Day,” Reitman’s film based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, then you’ve caught a glimpse of a new breakout star, who threatens to upstage even the estimable Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.
No, we’re not talking about young newcomer Gattlin Griffith, though he gives a lovely performance.
We’re talking about the peach pie.
Seldom has a baked good assumed so prominent an onscreen role as in this film, where it serves both as catalyst and as metaphor, for, um, sex. Plenty of movies have displayed food worshipfully, but this scene more aptly recalls that moist clay on the potter’s wheel in “Ghost,” where ceramics were quite beside the point.


Alas, both that clay and this pie hold together better than “Labor Day” does.
Reitman is a talented filmmaker, as you’ll know if you’ve seen “Juno” or “Up in the Air,” to name just two. But those movies had key elements that “Labor Day” does not: Humor, and edge.
It’s understandable why there’s no humor here; it’s the story of a seriously depressed, divorced mother and her preteen son, and how their lives intersect one summer with an escaped convict, for a Labor Day weekend that will change all of them. Not much comedy there.
But the lack of edge or irony is more serious. Reitman is so sincere in his presentation of this tale that we feel rather smothered by it. It doesn’t help that the narration — by Tobey Maguire, as the grown-up son looking back — is often unnecessary, pounding in a point that we already got.
And the prominent flashbacks, while occasionally useful, are also downright confusing at times. They make you want to go home and read the book, because it becomes clear that a book would do so much better a job of fleshing out these characters — and more importantly, explaining their actions.
None of this takes away from the very appealing performances of Winslet and Brolin, not to mention the sensitive Griffith. At times, you don’t even care that you don’t quite believe what they’re doing. You’re just enjoying watching them do it.


Winslet plays Adele, a mother whose depression makes her almost a hermit in her cluttered home in a New England town (gorgeously evoked in its summer glory by cinematographer Eric Steelberg.) We meet her and her seventh-grade son, Henry, as they’re embarking on a shopping trip for school clothes.
At the store, they’re approached by a muscular, menacing man with a bloody wound. He asks them to take him home and let him rest. “Frankly, this needs to happen,” he says.
At home, Frank ties Adele to a chair. But from there, he departs from our preconceived notions of escaped-convict behavior, making a pot of chili that Rachael Ray would love, and spoon-feeding it to Adele. As the weekend proceeds, Frank, who we learn was convicted of murder long ago, fixes the squeaky floorboard. He cleans the gutters and irons the clothes.


It gets better yet. When a neighbor delivers ripe peaches, Adele’s ready to throw them away, but Frank has another idea: baking the best-looking pie you’ve ever seen. “I want to talk about crust,” he tells mother and son, giving little tips like how crucial the salt is. Watching the pie rise in the oven, we want nothing more than to reach in and touch it. We wonder if there’s any vanilla ice cream around...
Oh right, the movie. Well, it’s not hard to see how attractive Frank seems to Adele. Still, things move awfully, even implausibly fast.
The drama heightens as we learn more about why Adele suffers the way she does, and why Frank ended up in prison. Thanks to some heartfelt acting — particularly from Winslet — we stay focused.
But it’s hard not to feel that this movie could have been so much better than it turned out.
Something we won’t say for that pie. That pie is perfect.
“Labor Day,” a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “thematic material, brief violence and sexuality.” Running time: 111 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

Also:
LOS ANGELES:
International man of mystery Benedict Cumberbatch is attached to star in Sergei Bodrov’s thriller “Blood Mountain,” it was announced Tuesday by Altitude Film Sales, which will shop the project to international buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin.
John Romano recently rewrote Jonathan W. Stokes’ original script, which follows a private military contractor whose special forces team is ambushed and killed during a covert raid. Forced to personally escort one of the world’s most wanted terrorists over hostile terrain, he must fight off insurgents and rival mercenaries to survive long enough to claim a rich bounty and bring the criminal to justice.
Lawrence Bender (“Pulp Fiction”) is producing with Nicola Horlick and James Gibb, while Shaun Redick is executive producing with Silver Reel’s Claudia Bluemhuber and Ian Hutchinson, as well as Derby Street Films’ Rachel Green and Energy Entertainment’s Brooklyn Weaver. Skady Lis will co-produce for Germany’s Getaway Pictures.
Silver Reel is financing the film, which is scheduled to start production in April in Morocco. UTA Independent Film Group was involved with arranging financing for the project.
Cumberbatch, who will soon be seen as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game,” is also attached to star in James Gray’s long-gestating adventure movie “The Lost City of Z.” He’s repped by UTA and Conway van Gelder Grant.

LOS ANGELES: Marvel must be impressed with how “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is shaping up, as the company is in early talks to bring back directors Joe and Anthony Russo for “Captain America 3,” an individual familiar with the sequel has told TheWrap.
Marvel had no comment.
Chris Evans will reprise his role as the titular superhero and Marvel’s Kevin Feige will produce, though no screenwriter has been hired yet.
While Marvel has yet to green light “Captain America 3,” the studio is pleased with how well the sequel has been testing, with the film expected to be a major hit this spring.
Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo and Robert Redford co-star in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which Marvel will release on April 4.
The Russo brothers, who made their bones directing NBC’s “Community,” are represented by WME.
Variety broke the news.

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