Jason Reitman Adapting Joyce Maynard's Labor Day

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Last month we took a look at five film projects that Jason Reitman has been developing, and wondered if any of the projects would be next for the Academy Award-nominated director. Add one more project to the pile, as it has been revealed that Retiman is currently adapting a screenplay for Joyce Maynard's new novel, Labor Day. What is the novel about? Details after the jump.

Labor Day

The book tells the story of a long Labor Day weekend through the eyes of a then 13-year-old boy who along with his reclusive depressed divorced mother are willingly taken "hostage" by an escaped convict in their own home. Here is the official plot synopsis:

With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry—lonely, friendless, not too good at sports—spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele—a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others—especially those we love—above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for. In a manner evoking Ian McEwan's Atonement and Nick Hornby's About a Boy, acclaimed author Joyce Maynard weaves a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy—and the man he later becomes—looking back at an unexpected encounter that begins one single long, hot, life-altering weekend.

And here are a few review quotes:

  • "It is a testament to Maynard's skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale." Washington Post
  • "Maynard's prose is beautiful and her characters winningly complicated, with no neat tie-ups in the end. A sometimes painful tale, but captivating and surprisingly moving." Publisher's Weekly
  • "Maynard's inventive coming-of-age tale indelibly captures the anxiety and confusion inherent in adolescence, while the addition of a menacing element of suspense makes this emotionally fraught journey that much more harrowing." Booklist
  • The 256-page book was released on July 28th 2009, and is available on Amazon for around $16.49. Maynard's 1992 novel To Die For, which drew several elements from the Pamela Smart murder case, was adapted into the 1995 film of the same name, starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon and Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Gus Van Sant. Maynard is also known for a relationship she had with author J. D. Salinger when she was 18 years old.

    I'm happy to see that Reitman might tackle a coming-of-age story as Juno demonstrated (in the moments of least quirkyness) that he is capable of hitting those hard to hit notes, while maintaining the authenticity of the moment and characters. But it is still unclear if this might be his next project. Reitman has been working on Up in the Air for a number of years now, and was actually writing the screenplay adaptation when the opportunity to direct Juno fell in his lap. So you never know what might pop up, or what project might be ready to go first.

    He's also actively developing a project being written by legendary director Sidney Lumet's daughter Jenny Lumet tenatively titled See Also: Sambo. For those of you who don't know, Lumet broke onto the scene writing the award winning screenplay for Rachel Getting Married, and this is one of two projects shes working on now. What is the screenplay about? We're not sure. Lumet explained the title and breifly discussed the project in the Wall Street Journal:

    "I looked up something like mixed race on Wikipedia and that's [the term] I found. I said Jason might be the only person on the planet who should do this." ... "what I can tell you is that I'm kind of a multi-culti chick. It's so cloak-and-dagger, oh God, but I can tell you that it's as irreverent as one can manage. I'm so sick of all the sanctity and February [Black History Month] is the holy month and I want to puke my guts out."

    Sounds either serious or very politically incorrect. Either way, I'm interested.

    via: USA Today