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!’