Owen Wilson Goes Full Bob Ross in the Trailer for “Paint”

IFC has dropped a new trailer and art for its upcoming comedy “Paint” and leading man Owen Wilson goes full-on Bob Ross mode in it.

In “PAINT,” Owen Wilson portrays Carl Nargle, Vermont’s #1 public television painter who is convinced he has it all: a signature perm, custom van, and fans hanging on his every stroke… until a younger, better artist steals everything (and everyone) Carl loves. A beloved TV icon Bob Ross, who led PBS’ instructional TV program “The Joy of Painting” from 1983 to 1994.

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He passed away in 1995 at 52 years old.

Director’s statement 

My favorite line from Death Cab for Cutie’s song, “What Sarah Said” is, “Love is watching someone die. So, who’s gonna watch you die?” If we were able to prioritize our lives through the lens of those words, what would we end up valuing? That’s the question Paint’s protagonist Carl Nargle eventually asks himself as he looks to define his life as an artist and as a man.

During the decades Carl has hosted the highest-rated painting show in the history of Vermont Public Broadcasting, he’s never had a reason to be anything other than a star. His success defines him and all of his relationships — I can’t imagine who I’d be if I spent my entire adult life being treated like I had everything figured out.

Carl, like so many men his age, isn’t adapting well to a changing world. The film is set in Vermont because it’s also a little trapped in the past.

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Vermont has no billboards; Carl has a van with a custom sofa bed. Each has its pluses and minuses (it’s an awesome van and Vermont’s a beautiful state), while harkening back to a time when being a “gentleman” meant holding a door for someone you didn’t treat as an equal.

Equally defined by Carl’s success, the people around him put their own dreams on hold for his. When change finally comes in the form of Ambrosia (a younger, better artist played by the ridiculously talented Ciara Renée) all the feelings that have been put on hold for years bubble to the surface, leaving Carl’s head spinning. (Does no one remember the mugs he bought everyone for Secretaries’ Day?)

Central New York expertly played the part of Vermont for our 20-day shoot. Twelve-hour filming days (including travel) during Covid meant we all had to be sharp. I think I’m as proud of that as anything. From Owen and the rest of the cast embracing moving impossibly fast to my old friend Patrick Cady’s ridiculously good cinematography when the allotted time for each set up should have turned the feature into a documentary.

Stephen Root (who we were so lucky to have in the film) has a “no asshole policy” when it comes to choosing what he works on. Somehow that, along with the love the script has for each of the characters, permeated the entire world of PAINT. Producers Sam Maydew and Peter Brant were always thinking big picture when it came to not-so-little problems. Allie Pearce’s costume design and Todd Jeffery’s production design were beyond resourceful (yes, our picture cars were actually rented from people trying to sell them on Craigslist). From casting to crew to partnering with IFC on the distribution of the film, we have had layer upon layer of smart, talented individuals making the film better (who also pass the Root check with flying colors). Most importantly, I realize that all of these amazing people at one point told me they wanted to watch me die. So, mission accomplished there.

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All joking aside, PAINT could so easily not be a part of my life. It took 13 years to make, coming together and falling apart time and time again. I’m just so thankful for it and for the friends I made telling the story of Carl’s journey to his special place.

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