Creating Frank's Pie
The primary connective element of past and present is Frank's pie. To
re-create a pie built exactly the way Joyce Maynard describes in Labor Day, only
an expert would do. Enter food stylist Susan Spungen, a veteran of Martha
Stewart's Living. Spungen quickly realized the pastry Reitman needed could NOT
grace the cover of Martha Stewart's magazine. This pie had to look amateur and
homemade. Spungen attempted pie after pie, following Maynard's own recipe, but
none was exactly right. It wasn't until Lianne Halfon directed Susan to "think
folk art not fine art" that it clicked in Susan's head and the result was the
most imperfectly perfect pie which was exactly what Reitman was looking for.
To prepare for the pie making scenes, Kate and Josh attended a pie making
class with Spungen before production began. Maynard was on site too to make sure
her process was followed step by step. "I got nervous about making pie," laughs
Brolin. "I wanted to be a cook when I was a kid...and I would go into massive
shame spirals in the beginning because I thought, 'You can't figure this out!
Why is the dough doing this?'"
By the end of the film, each cast member was a pie making expert and Josh
Brolin said he loved it so much he started baking one every night. Maynard now
jokingly introduces herself as the woman who taught Josh Brolin how to make a
The cast and crew of "Labor Day" celebrated the last day of filming with
wonderful pies of every flavor imaginable, each one complete with the Frank's
signature vent holes in the shape of an "A."
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