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Sam Rockwell: 'I based Way, Way Back character on Bill Murray'

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Sam Rockwell has revealed that his character in The Way, Way Back was inspired by Bill Murray's performance in Meatballs.

The Way, Way Back stars Liam James as a young boy who is helped to cope with his troubling home life by an outgoing waterpark manager (Rockwell).

Sam Rockwell

© WENN

Sam Rockwell

Bill Murray arrives for the opening ceremony and screening of 'Moonrise Kingdom' at the 65th international film festival, in Cannes

© PA Images / Joel Ryan/AP

Bill Murray



Discussing the film with Vulture, Rockwell spoke about the influence of the 1979 summer camp comedy Meatballs on The Way, Way Back.

"It was pretty self-explanatory in the script," Rockwell recalled. "It was pretty obvious that this character was kind of an homage to [Murray's Meatballs] character, and some others: Walter Matthau from Bad News Bears, Richard Pryor in Bustin' Loose."

He continued: "Those characters influenced me quite a bit, and Michael Keaton in Mr Mum, and a little Night Shift. Those archetypes, the misanthrope, the grouchy adult that treats kids like adults.

"Bill Murray was the main go-to reference, and I think we talked about it a little bit, but it was sort of unsaid for me.

"But there are prototypes for every character, everything I've done. Everything's been done before, you know?"

Sam Rockwell in 'The Way, Way Back' poster

Sam Rockwell in 'The Way, Way Back' poster



Rockwell went on to stress that it was also very important for him to bring a very unique quality to his Way, Way Back character Owen.

"You want to be careful - you don't want to do a carbon copy of a carbon copy, you want to draw from real life," he explained.

"That's why it's important to watch documentaries and watch real people. When you're playing a drunk, to research playing a drunk, you don't get drunk."

The Way, Way Back - which was written and directed by Oscar winners Nat Faxon and Jim Rash - is now playing in the US and opens in the UK on August 28.

Watch a trailer for the movie below:

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