Some people have accused Steve Carell’s departure from The Office empty in that nothing good appears to have resulted yet from doubling down on his film career. Sure, Crazy, Stupid, Love was pretty good, but production on that came prior to his leaving the world of high-octane paper sales. Now, for the first time we are hearing of something potentially great with the actor on board in a lead role, and it originates from the often disappointing realm of the Sundance Film Festival.
The Way, Way Back comes from first time directors Jim Rash and Nat Faxon who are best known for their supporting work in front of the cameras. They are also known for winning the Oscar last year for The Descendants (and mocking Angelina Jolie’s leg,) making them a go-to tandem for screenplay writing. So what did they conjure up to follow the Hawaii-based dramedy? A coming of age story about a teenager who strikes up a friendship with the operators of a rundown water park with Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph and Liam James rounding out the cast.
Ultimately, The Way, Way Back sounds like a pretty minor indie hit with all this in mind, but the reason it might be worth acknowledging here is that this could be Carell’s next Little Miss Sunshine–a film that grossed $100 million on a mere $8 million investment. Fox Searchlight who distributed that particular movie seven years ago certainly has not forgotten as they reportedly shelled out a Sundance record $10 million for domestic distribution, thus trumping yesterday’s news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon’s Addiction scored $4 million with a 2000-theater guarantee from Relativity.