View the trailer for The Way, Way Back

“We would go to water parks that were in the area of where we grew up, and we always had destination vacations where people would reconvene every year,” said Rash. “So it was a fondness for that time of our lives that we drew from.”

Although the movie, which took the all-star Hollywood duo eight-years to complete, was their first attempt to play the roles of both director and actor, they agreed their work on The Way, Way Back opened new opportunities creatively—not to mention the chance to get real and draw from their own experiences. “This movie led us to want to tell the story the way we wanted to and embrace the cast we wanted to,” said Rash.

The battle, they said, was to get all aspects of the film in line perfectly to create a movie as a stand-alone entity. “I think the difficult part of making a movie is having the resilience to regroup. It is a long process, so regardless of what the hurdles were, it really is about making it all come together,” said Rash.

“Its also about trusting your instinct and sticking to that conviction and not being told that you should cast this person when you don’t totally feel it is right, or shoot the movie in this location when that doesn’t match what you set out to do,” said Faxon. “I think it is about being true to what you envision from the very start and not doing something because someone tells you it’s a better idea.” According to Rash, one goal of their film was to create an experience people of all ages could relate to. “I think in a coming of age movie, the protagonist is usually someone we cheer for,” he said. “There is going to be this kind of right of passage for them. We want everyone to identify with Duncan’s character and see themselves, whether they’re young or old.”