Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Oscar-winning co-writers of Alexander Payne’s The Descendants and directors of the Sundance fave The Way, Way Back, have lined up their next project BATSO AND THE WALL, a biopic about Warren “Batso” Harding and his attempt to climb up the Dawn Wall of the El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park.
The film is written by Eamon O’Sullivan with Mark Roberts and Ross Jacobson’s 3311 Productions committing to finance and produce the film, along with Ben LeClair, and with Tony Pachella overseeing for 3311 Productions.
In 1972, at the age 47, Harding — who got his nickname for his use of a “bat tent” to sleep upright on cliffs — set out to climb the seemingly-impossible El Capitan rock wall, which turned into a 28-day marathon that became one of the great historic rock climbs. Harding was a member of a community of climbers that were mainly active at Camp 4 at Yosemite National Park, so there should be a number of interesting roles around whomever plays Harding.
Faxon and Rash have only directed an unoptioned Fox pilot since writing and directing The Way, Way Back, which Fox Searchlight picked up out of Sundance and released in the summer of 2013 to gross $21.5 million domestically. They both have very active acting careers still with both making regular appearances on television and in film.
O’Sullivan has also written a Western called Yuba, which was sold to Netflix with Channing Tatum’s Free Association, Vertigo Entertainment and Energy Entertainment producing.
3311 Productions is also producing Karem Sanga’s The Violent Heart and optioned Chad Hartigan’s The Fifth Official, the filmmaker’s follow-up to Morris from America.
Faxon and Rash are both repped by CAA and Stone Meyer with Faxon managed by Principato-Young Entertainment and Rash by Primary Wave. O’Sullivan is represented by UTA, Energy Entertainment and also Stone Meyer.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor