If you've watched the first scene in the "Way, Way Back" trailer (in which Steve Carell's character rates his girlfriend's teenage son as a "3" on a scale of 1-10), you've been privy to a painful formative moment from Jim Rash's childhood.
"That actual scene happened to me," Rash told me at the film's recent press junket. "That whole...horrendous ride, when my stepfather at the time took us up to our summer vacations, and we had the same thing. So we sort of always started with that [scene in the script]."
Speaking of the script, it's been a long, frustrating journey from page to screen for writer/director/stars Rash and Faxon; not only did they begin writing the thing eight years ago, but it was featured on the Blacklist (an annual insider survey that ranks the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood) "way, way back" in 2007. Which got me to wondering: did the duo's Oscar win for "The Descendants" screenplay provide the push they needed to getting the movie produced?
"It definitely provided the momentum to engage the conversation again," said Rash. "After like an eight-year journey with this script - even before the Blacklist - you know, starting from writing to the Blacklist to all this stuff, it had gone on this sort of rollercoaster. And after awhile, time sometimes makes people forget about something, or they would say to us, 'Oh my god, why hasn't someone made that? We love that! We don't want to, but let me tell you about this other project we're interested in talking about.'"
It was out of a conversation like this that Rash and Faxon scored the job writing "The Descendants" - a film that itself became the catalyst for "The Way, Way Back's" successful journey to the big-screen.
"I feel like then, weirdly, 'The Way, Way Back' got us in the door to meet about 'The Descendants' to write, and get that job. And then 'The Descendants' really allowed us to come back to this," Rash continued. "So both of them sort of fed each other. I don't know if it was exactly the award that made it greenlit, cause obviously we were still trying to get our cast together. But I think at least it got us our foot in the door for someone to listen to us."
After watching my full interview with Rash and Faxon up top, you can check out my conversation with co-stars AnnaSophia Robb (Susanna) and Liam James (Duncan) in the video below.
"The Way, Way Back" hits theaters this Friday.