So here’s an example of how a project, through a variety of circumstances, can take years to get off the ground. All the way back in 2007, producer Paul Young brought a script by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (“The Descendants“) to Shawn Levy entitled “The Way Back” (though it now seems to be called “The Way, Way Back“). Anyway, he immediately took a shine to it, commited to direct and Fox Searchlight gave it a greenlight. But this was just before the WGA strike of 2007 and with no guarantee they could finish it before the work stoppage, the project stalled.
Once the dust cleared, Mandate Pictures scooped it up and in 2009, Tom Bezucha (“The Family Stone,” “Monte Carlo“) became attached with a shoot to take place later that year. But for whatever reason, that never happened either. Now two years later, the project is in the hands of producer Kevin Walsh, and in Variety‘s recent profile, they reveal the project is still happening with none other than Jake Gyllenhaal in talks for the lead role.
So what is it about the material that had Levy and Alexander Payne eyeing it at one time or another? The story centers on a teenage boy, who over the course of an extraordinary summer forms a friendship that gives him the strength to stand up to his bullying stepfather and reconnect with his mother. Despite the heavy hitter names circling the director’s chair, Faxon and Rash will now direct the project themselves with Mandate, Principato-Young and Levy all producing.
Of course, no word yet on when the long-developing project will actually get rolling, and it likely depends on a star like Gyllenhaal coming on board to get the wheels moving. But Faxon and Rash know patience. “The Descendants” began rolling as far back as 2006 before making it to the big screen this year. Just a reminder that even though a project may fall in the background, development keeps happening.