In theaters from director/writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash is the outrageously funny and heartwarming film THE WAY, WAY BACK. If you’ve heard the buzz, and you should have this is the film to see for 2013. If you are done with cgi, special effects, bland stories and ridiculous premises to films then be in despair no longer.
THE WAY, WAY BACK stars Steve Carell, Alison Janney and Liam James. It tells the story of young Duncan (Liam James) who is with his mother Pam (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) to spend the summer at a beach house.
Trying to find where he fits into the world Duncan takes a journey that leads him to Water Wizz where Sam Rockwell as Owen takes the young lad under his wings and helps him explode into the world. It is also a time of meeting girls as Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb) who lives next door with gossiping Mom Betty (Allison Janney) keep things interesting.
It’s a story of growing up – no matter what your age!
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who are also responsible for writing THE DESCENDANTS wrote the script. I had the great opportunity to talk to recently:
Thanks guys for joining us today. First of all, this is so far my favorite film of the year.
Jim: Oh wow, that’s great!
I laughed so hard my sides were hurting. It’s like all these emotions from crying, and laughing and sometimes both at the same time.
Nat: That is so great!
Your characters are awesome. What made you decide Jim to be that, kind of the curmudgeon?
Nat: That’s so against type for you isn’t it
Jim: Playing this was such a stretch for me right?
Nat: And got bigger.
Jim: Yes, and got bigger. The energy was created to be a balance of Owens’s “everything is great”. Having been doing “Community” (an NBC show) this was a nice change and a chance to do something a little opposite energy wise so it was fun for me.
We called you the “dark spot in the sunshine”.
Jim: Oh really?
Yes, because you’re there while all this stuff is going on around you.
Jim: Yep, he stays in his little shack.
Did you see that character being such a main success? Because your character is important in that story.
Jim: Yes, at least it was a story point that we were trying to give a reason for this little party and plus we also wanted to show how powerful this place was for all these characters which caused their reluctance to leave. It sort of all evolved and grew.
You’re like the guy who worked at McDonalds in high school and then you walk in years later and he’s now the manager.
Jim: And here’s Lewis not even a manager. He’s still at the same job he’s been at since the beginning.
And he stays in that little cubby.
Nat: He probably likes it! If he were offered manager he’d probably turn it down because it would be too much responsibility.
Jim: Yep, way to much responsibility.
Nat, you’re laughing the entire time. You were having way too much fun. It seemed like all the pressure was on everyone else and you get to watch it. On purpose?
Nat: Very much so! It was really fun. The character was named after an old friend of ours and this guy who unfortunately passed away at too young an age really embodied that fun and laughing spirit. He liked to have a good time and liked being part of any of the antics at any stage of a party. It was not far from myself and the more social an extroverted side of me, it was a blast to play. To get to pal around with Sam Rockwell you can’t beat that.
Have you seen him in SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS?
Nat: No I haven’t.
Jim: Me either.
What? Do you guys live in a communist country? Sam is stellar in that film and now to see him play the polar opposite here is amazing. He is so caring in this film. What made you decide to choose him?
Jim: Owen is charismatic and his confidence comes from somewhere and Sam just came to mind. Once we met him it sealed the deal because as a person he is very loving and you feel like you’re a friend pretty fast.
Nat: We’ve seen his who career being one different role to the next and the range of caring roles.
The minute he gets on screen his brain is on overdrive, you almost have to keep up with his brain. Now your choice of Duncan, there is such a look about him and just want to hug him. Did you know about him before?
Jim: No, he was a discovery for us. He was on the AMC’s THE KILLING but we weren’t familiar with the show at all. He was brand new to us walking in the room. We felt exactly the same way about him. He shuffles in and has his shaggy hair and pale face and you had that connection that says ‘I want to root for this kid!’ You can tell there is this old soul inside of him that’s waiting to blossom. He was definitely the obvious choice in our minds. There were a lot of great kids that came in that were more polished and rehearsed but Liam was very grounded, honest and natural.
That came through and it was so beautiful.
Nat: Because he’s an observer and doesn’t say a ton in the beginning you really need that natural presence – that very honest fifteen-year-old look of “I’m just a sponge and very intoned”.
The feeling of ‘I’m aware even though you don’t think I’m aware’.
Steve Carell is a douchebag? That idea had to come from maybe you were out drinking one night or something? Everyone was horrified by his character!
Nat: It was exactly what we wanted for us. We knew we wanted to go against type and Steve inherently has likeability and we needed that too. It is a deep part of who Trent is and what makes Pam have blinders on regarding him. He feeds off of other people. Steve embraced it and what better way than to have an actor brave enough to be seen in a while different light. So there’s a moment of shock and then you see who Trent is.
We were hissing at him.
Jim: As well you should!
Okay, the “see you next Tuesday” – where did that come from?
Nat: I’ve heard it before but I don’t know where. I think it was friends or experiences but it’s floated around.
Jim: It’s great!
We were laughing so hard we probably missed something. Allison Janney saying it is perfect!
Jim: You give Allison Janney anything and you can pretty much know she’s going to nail it.
Nat: She’s perfect at that.
Do you know someone like her character? I mean I come from a small place in Illinois and I know someone exactly like her!
Jim: Yea, she’s that typical busy body.
Nat: She was inspired by those Christmas letters that you get that are Xeroxed of a laundry list of achievements and successes they’ve had that year like promotions and Little League and stuff. We had a friend get one that was all kind of negative information with a long list of bad stuff and at the end it said ‘Happy Holidays’! So she was the inspiration for that character.
Thank you so much for talking so us and congratulations on an amazing film. If your looking for a film to make you laugh, cry, think, cheer and just remember what its like to be human then take time to go see THE WAY, WAY BACK.