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Michaela Watkins & Wendi McLendon-Covey Go to a Special Place in Paint

Apr 15, 2023


Owen Wilson parodies the legendary Bob Ross in Paint. He plays Carl Nargle, a bushy-permed, PBS Vermont painter who entrances nursing homes and bars with his many interpretations of majestic Mount Mansfield. Carl takes audiences to “a special place.” For local women and smitten station employees, that’s the sofa bed in the back of his fan; resplendent with Portuguese flannel and a hint of radiator fluid. The whispering lothario gets knocked off his lofty perch when ratings plummet and a new artist, Ambrosia (Ciara Renée), is hired for a competing show.

Michaela Watkins and Wendi McLendon-Covey co-star as Carl’s enabling co-workers and former love interests. Jealousy arises when Katherine (Watkins) is targeted for romance by Ambrosia. The bed hopping kicks into high gear with broken hearts and hilarious envy. Carl must prove his self-worth and win back his true love interest.

Paint was filmed during the pandemic over 20 days in Saratoga Springs, New York. The actresses discuss the sleepy town’s excitement of hosting an Owen Wilson film. They were peppered with questions, baked goods, and requests to meet him. It was all good fun except when the locals kept walking into scenes. Watkins and McLendon-Covey had a “pleasant experience” on the brief shoot. They laughed a lot on set and treasured their time with such a talented ensemble cast.

Carl Nargle’s Affection

IFC Film

MW: How do you get to that special place with Carl Nargle?

Michaela Watkins: It depends which special place you’re talking about. If we’re referring to the paintings, you just tune in to PBS, Burlington, Vermont. You too can go to a special place where he paints Mount Mansfield and other scenic experiences. But I would say the other special place to go with Carl Nargle is to his van. And for that, you merely need to express your affinity for Carl Nargle and affection.

Related: Paint Review: A Hilarious Satire of Bob Ross

MW: I never thought of Bob Ross as a sex symbol. He’s hilariously portrayed here as a lusty womanizer. Is he attractive in that sense?

Wendi McLendon-Covey: I promise you, Bob Ross had groupies. There’s no way he didn’t. When someone’s really good at something and they have a little bit of fame, people come out of the woodwork and want to feast on that brilliance.

Michaela Watkins: You could be a serial killer, and you’ll have them.

Wendi McLendon-Covey: I mean, of course, serial killers get lots of ladies.

Michaela Watkins: Yeah, look at Charles Manson, didn’t he get married while in jail?

Having Fun with Friends

IFC Films

MW: Paint was filmed for 20 days during the pandemic. Talk about the experiencing of shooting an indie film in such a short space of time.

Wendi McLendon-Covey: I thought 20 days was kind of generous. I’ve been in indie films where they rush you through 10 days of absolute hell, just do guerrilla shooting, and sometimes you don’t even get more than one take. So I thought 20 days hell yes, that can happen. That’s a cake basically. But it was so much fun for us because it was kind of right after the shutdown. I mean, a lot of things were still shut down. It was so much fun to go and do this for a month in Saratoga Springs, where it’s absolutely gorgeous. It just felt like we were at summer camp having fun with our friends.

Michaela Watkins: The town was very funny. They were very stoked to have Owen Wilson shooting a movie in their town. I remember I was going for breakfast. Somebody asked what I was doing there, and I said I’m making this movie. They wanted to bring these muffins to Owen. It’s Saturday. I’m not going to see him for a couple of days. One woman said to me, thank you so much for taking care of him. I don’t actually take care of him. I work with him. I don’t change his diapers.

Wendi McLendon-Covey: You just read him a story every night before bed.

Michaela Watkins: I did. Yes, and gave him his bottle.

Related: Exclusive: Stephen Root on His Comedic Role in Owen Wilson’s Paint

MW: What’s the best and worst day on set of Paint?

Michaela Watkins: The best day is when everything is just humming along. We’re getting our shots. We’re getting the scenes, and having a blast doing it, which is basically every time when you open your mouth. I was laughing. Luckily, not when the camera was on me, so I can it get out of my system. And by the time they turned around to me, I would be fine.

Michaela Watkins: Then a hard day…it wasn’t as snowy in Saratoga at that time of year as it normally is. We had to bring in snow and figure that out. There’s a lot of logistics, and in 20 days, the pressure kind of goes up a little bit. But you know, maybe you’re cold, maybe you’re tired, maybe you’re hungry. That’s a bad day on this film. I’ve had other films where a bad day is [actually] a bad day. But this, everybody, the crew, the director, producer, was so affable and great. We like to make interesting stuff. That’s what we were all there to do. It was just like a family.

Paint: A Pleasant Experience

Wendi McLendon-Covey: I would say the worst thing that happened was maybe rain, a little bit. And there were some locals that kept walking into one of the shots and had to be told repeatedly, “Please back up.” The best days were when all of us were working. I would say the most fun we had was during the telethon fundraising scene, because we were all there, cracking each other up. It was a pleasant experience. I think that translates into the finished product. One other thing I wanted to say about Owen being in Saratoga Springs — Michaela, wasn’t there some shop owner that put a poster in the window that said, “Owen, come and say hi to us.”

Michaela Watkins: Yeah, there was a sandwich board outside their bakery, or maybe it was ice cream shop, and I got DMs in my Instagram that was like, “Can you invite Owen to my baseball game, or soccer game?” Some game? I just thought it would be so funny if I showed up to this young man’s high school sports event, and then was just like clapping the loudest and saying, “Go, Evan! You got this.” Everybody would be like, “Who is this lady? Who invited a random lady to this sports event?”

Paint is currently in theatrical release from IFC Films.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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