Faxon, Rash go 'Way, Way Back' to explore teen's coming-of-age in new film

Fri Jul 5, 2013 9:11pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash first explored a father's journey with George Clooney in their 2011 hit "The Descendants," and now they turn their focus on a teenager's coming-of-age story with an all-star cast in their latest film.

Faxon and Rash explore dysfunctional family dynamics in independent comedy "The Way, Way Back," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, drawing on their own childhood experiences to follow the journey of a teenage boy on his summer vacation.

The film, which has garnered mainly positive reviews and earned a score of 65 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic.com, stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph, and centers on 14-year-old Duncan, played by newcomer Liam James.

Shy and socially awkward, Duncan must spend a summer with his mother (Collette) and her new boyfriend (Carell), and finds a mentor in quirky, carefree Owen (Rockwell), the owner of a local water park.

"I think there's a fear of disconnect sometimes, communication is a huge issue for all of us from adults to kids, as far as our face-to-face time and our ability to interact with each other without isolating itself to a phone. I think that has to be something that's very challenging," Rash told Reuters.


James, now 16, said he connected to Duncan's coming-of-age story and felt audiences would be drawn to his character's journey to find his place in the world.

"(Faxon and Rash) made the boy that lots of people have experienced when they're younger ... everybody has to go through this awkward stage," James said.   Continued...

Nat Faxon holds his award for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Descendants" at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, California during the early morning of February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok