Up until recently, Jim Rash could only be found in front of the camera, appearing as a series regular on NBC comedy Community and in recurring roles on That ‘70s Show and Reno 911!. However, the upcoming film The Descendants, a screenplay adapted from the Kaui Hart Hemming novel of the same name by him and two others, finds Rash in the writing credits for the first time.
“We ended up writing a screenplay around 2005 that got us on the Black List and then we crossed paths with Alexander Payne,” said Rash of he and writing partner Nat Faxon, who collaborated on The Descendants with Payne, speaking to The Wall Street Journal. “It was a little weird, coming from the acting side of things, especially since both of us have primarily worked in comedy.”
The Descendants, due out November 18, stars George Clooney as a middle-aged man who attempts to reconnect with his children after his wife and their mother is injured in a boating accident.
“After people hear that we’ve written a movie, they’ll ask if it’s a comedy and we’re like no, it’s a dramedy,” Rash observed. “There’s nothing in the one-line pitch that makes them think, oh, very funny.” How did he work around his demanding Community schedule? “The great thing about Community up until now was that I was recurring, so I wasn’t in every episode,” Rash, who plays a junior college dean on the hit sitcom, said of the writing process. “Typically, Nat and I would fluxuate between jobs — if one of us was doing a pilot and the other wasn’t working, that person would do more writing.”
Surely, it will easier to get his unproduced script made now that The Descendants is about to receive a wide-release, right? No. We wrote The Way Back so long ago and we’re still struggling to get that made,” Rash explained. “Maybe more people will read the script, but that doesn’t meant it will get made.”