A series I wrote for 6-9 year olds is free for the next 5 days on Amazon. I guarantee it’ll be cheaper – not to mention more beneficial – than your child hacking into your itunes account and inadvertently buying an entire Smurf village. Get in quick!

The Way Way Back interview

I’ve spent the last few weeks in Hawaii lazing in the sun doing bugger all. On the flight home Juno and Little Miss Sunshine were two of the available movies, the latter of which was being watched by the bloke to my right who couldn’t stop laughing at the scene where the yellow van’s horn will not quit.

Which made me laugh as well.

The Way Way Back is a new movie made by the same studio that brought us the aforementioned flicks. Today on our Classic Hits radio show we spoke with the director/actors, Jim Rash (Minority Report; One Hour Photo) and Nat Fazon (Bad Teacher; Walk Hard.) Ultimately it’s a coming-of-age story about a mother (Toni Collette) and her son finding each other again, no thanks to evil step-dad (Steve Carell). The uncomfortable opening scene (where Carrell doubts his step-son would rate any higher than a 3/10) actually happened to Jim Rash growing up. What follows is a touching, endearing story with superbly cast characters.

Why set The Way Way Back in a water park?

(Faxon): ‘Many kids have a fondness for that world. It gives you a sense of independence. You were often dropped off by your parents and the people who worked there were only a few years older than you.’

Finding a teen lead actor, who can be both awkward and likeable, must have been a challenge.

(Rash): ‘There is always anxiety and trepidation. You hear stories of crews searching around the country, but we didn’t have the time or budget to do that. We completely lucked out with Duncan (Liam James). As soon as he walked in the room it felt right. He was right emotionally and physically. He was honest and natural, unlike some of the other well-rehearsed kids.’

As writer/directors you obviously reserved the best lines for yourselves.

(Naxon): Jim’s role got bigger and bigger.
(Rash): I’m such eye candy – it really was difficult to make myself look as ugly as possible.

The Way Way Back has been an eight year journey – you guys must be stoked with the result.

(Rash): ‘Absolutely. We wanted to make a movie that would connect with a lot of people. It’s been very rewarding – and emotional!’

The only piece of advice you'll ever need

Edmund Hillary was the first person to climb Mt Everest. He built schools in Nepal. He was one of New Zealand’s most famous people until his death in 2008. During all that time his name, address and number were in the Auckland phone book. And he left us with this nugget of wisdom. RIP, Ed.

Bestseller Bowling Through India - for free

The story: Five Kiwi blokes choose to drive across India and play cricket with street kids who ultimately whip their ass. They are, after all, The Black Craps. I’m pleased to announce that Bowling Through India is now an ebook and is free for five days (until July 14th.) Just click on the pic and you’ll be taken to Amazon. Go for it – and please leave a review!

tim balme

Actor and screenwriter Tim Balme visited us this week promoting the third season of the Almighty Johnsons. It’s the season that almost didn’t make it, but thanks to fans who went ‘troppo’ when they heard their favorite show might be kicked into touch, the Norse Bro Show is alive and well. And according to Tim it’ll be the ‘biggest and best series so far.’

I was most interested to know how the show’s writers go about their work. I once read that Michael Palin and John Cleese used to sit in a log cabin in the woods with pen and paper, but talk utter rubbish for the first hour. ‘How are the kids? I like your new shoes. Isn’t it funny how you never see baby pigeons.’ After that initial ‘download’ they could then begin their work.

According to Tim, writers meetings for the Almighty Johnsons are no different. ‘There’s always a certain amount of circling the wagons, or mucking around before you get the true gold.’ And given he is a writer and actor for the series, what’s the more challenging role? ‘I kid you not – the hardest lines to learn are the ones you wrote yourself.’

The third season of The Almighty Johnsons will also air in the US and Canada.

Sometimes it's a good thing you first book was never published

I think I was seven when I wrote BOMBARDED – The Maggot Adventure. Plot: two maggots get drunk on ‘flies eyes wine’, throw on Superman costumes and play car tennis using houses as racquets. And no one published it! Not that I sent it to anyone. But even so…