×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

10 Screenwriters to Watch

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash never intended to become screenwriters, but after enduring years of getting passed over for plum roles, the two actor buddies decided to take matters into their own hands and write parts for themselves. The result: a handful of high-profile film and TV sales that may very well turn the two comedy vets into leading-man material.

Faxon and Rash met nearly nine years ago at the Groundlings Theater, the legendary L.A. improv outfit. After eventually rising through the ranks to the Groundlings’ Main Company, the two thesps began scoring gigs as series regulars on sitcoms as well as the occasional film job. At the same time, they began teaming up to write sketches for the Groundlings’ live shows.

“It was pretty clear from the beginning that we worked very well together,” says the Charlotte, N.C.-raised Rash. “It didn’t take long for us to decide that we might as well take this to the next level.”

Unlike many fellow Groundling members, Faxon and Rash eschewed high-concept slapstick in favor of a more personal storytelling style.

The duo crafted their first feature-length script using a true story concerning Rash’s family as a jumping-off point. “One summer, when I was a kid, I was in the car with my stepfather, and he was asking me where I thought I ranked, on a scale of 1 to 10,” says Rash. “I said 6, and he said 3. I think it was his way of telling me that I needed to get out and really attack life.”

With that premise in hand, the duo went to work on “The Way Back,” a comedy-drama in the “Little Miss Sunshine” mold that centers on the relationship between a boy and his mother, set against the backdrop of a summer water park. Project is set up at Mandate Pictures, with Principato-Young and 21 Laps Entertainment attached to produce.

“The Way Back” generated serious industry buzz last year, and the scribes soon scored their first job-for-hire, an adaptation of the novel “The Descendants” for their idol, writer-helmer Alexander Payne.

“Nat and Jim are rare among today’s screenwriters for the humanity with which they write and their lack of interest in gimmick or contrivance,” says Payne, who’s producing “The Descendants” under his Ad Hominem shingle for Fox Searchlight. “I still get confused, however, remembering which one is Jim and which one is Nat.”

The pair are developing a number of film and television ideas, and are looking forward to writing leading parts for themselves as well as possibly co-directing one of their scripts. “We’d love to try a range of things, big or small, as long as it involves great characters, a strong point of view and identifiable, universal themes,” Faxon says.

SHORTHAND

Age: Faxon (pictured, top): 32; Rash: 26

Influences: “Alexander Payne, because he loves stories about people who make bad decisions in their lives,” the duo say.

Favorite unproduced script: “The Way Back”

Up next: Writing “The Descendants” for producer Payne, at Fox Searchlight

Reps: Agents: CAA; managers: Paul Young and Brian Dobbins at Principato-Young; attorney: Rick Genow at Stone Meyer & Genow

More Film

  • The Favourite Black Panther

    Audience for Best Picture Nominees Most Diverse in Years, Report Shows

    Theatergoers for Academy Awards best picture-nominated films have become younger and more diverse over the past four years, a report released exclusively to Variety showed. Movio, which specializes in cinema marketing data analytics, said the changes in demographic shifts correspond to the best picture lineup becoming more diverse since the 2015 Oscars, when the #OscarsSoWhite [...]

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content