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James Van Der Beek Joins Brolin, Winslet In Jason Reitman’s ‘Labor Day’; Lead Children Cast

Written by on April 17, 2012 

While Jason Reitman was running the gauntlet for his awards darling — or, so we initially thought — Up in the Air, I was instantly excited by the prospect of Labor Day, which even he, at that point in time, figured would be his follow-up to the Oscar-nominated George Clooney-starrer. Obviously, that turned out not to be the case, as Diablo Cody‘s Young Adult script — loved by some, loathed by others, moderately respected by yours truly — landed in front of him and refused to let go.

He’s now finally back in the Labor Day saddle, though, with Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet set to headline. I confess that I couldn’t help but leaf through Joyce Maynard‘s source material back when the fabrics of this project were first hinted at, though seeing as how that was nearly three years ago, I’ve forgotten a good deal of the book — indeed, much of the recent character details revealed in the official casting of Tom Lipinski were wholly foreign to me.

Anyway, another addition has been made, this time in the form of James Van Der Beek — who, outside of Roger Avary‘s The Rules of Attraction, is known best for his small-screen work in things like Dawson’s Creek. We received a relatively potent amount of detail regarding Lipinski‘s contribution to the story, as his younger-version embodiment of Brolin‘s Frank, “an escaped convict who seeks shelter with a depressed single mom (Winslet) and her young son,” appears to serve a hefty narrative purpose. The extent of Van Der Beek‘s role, however, is currently relegated to a single line: “a police officer investigating a missing person’s case.” [THR]

THR has a second update, saying that Reitman‘s tracked down one of the film’s most important roles: the son of Winslet‘s character. Gattlin Griffith (Changeling, The Green Lantern) is the director’s pick for what, according to others, will be Labor Day‘s most important role — they claim the main action is seen through his eyes, for instance — although nothing’s been inked just yet. Expect that to change soon.

And, finally, Variety has come in to tell us that Brighid Fleming (Gamer) will portray Eleanor, “the mysterious object of Griffith’s affection who seems to know everything about the world that he doesn’t.” You could say this one’s coming together at an expedient rate.

Hopefully, it also means we’ll be getting a more concrete word on the production dates in the meantime, because I’m fiendishly intrigued to see how Reitman continues to transition from outright comedy-drama to a more severe focus devoted solely to the latter. Young Adult certainly hinted at that — but it was Cody‘s pen, not his own.

Are you excited for Labor Day? Have you read the Maynard novel?

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