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Owen Wilson Is (But Isn’t) Bob Ross in Paint

The look works for him. Photo: IFC Films

Owen Wilson is getting ready to paint some happy contented little small trees leafy wood poles. He’s starring in Paint, an All About Eve–style film about a public-TV painter that’s coming out in April. The screenplay was on the 2010 Black List, which included Jackie, Argo, and a script by Jesse Armstrong called Murdoch that ended up becoming Succession, so, ya know, there’s a pedigree there. In the intervening years, Ross’s shows have exploded in popularity on YouTube, meaning even the Gen-Zers among us will get what Paint, written and directed by Brit McAdams, is referencing. While Ross’s legacy certainly was not without drama — the man had affairs, and the rights to his paintings were fought over in courtrooms after his death — the drama of Paint is of a different breed. Carl Nargle is worried about the success of a younger, cooler painter who might jeopardize his success. Below, we’ve painted a picture of Paint.

So Paint isn’t a Bob Ross biopic?

Paint is described as being about a man named Carl Nargle, which is super-fun to say. Nargle is “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.” The film takes a twist when “a younger, better artist steals everything (and everyone) Carl loves.” Tough break, Nargle!

The character is clearly inspired by Ross, showing off the three p’s that defined him: perm, painting, and public TV. Plus the original Blacklist description of the film calls him “a Bob Ross–esque PBS painting show host.” So, yeah, it’s Ross-esque. But the plot is not based on anything Ross actually experienced, and this painter lives in Vermont, whereas Ross lived in Florida. Presumably there are enough differences that nobody should be getting sued.

Is everybody a happy little tree in the trailer?

Paint just released its first full trailer, which gives you a fuller look at the Carl Nargle spiral. We see him before Ambrosia (his younger replacement-rival played by Ciara Renée) shows up — when the ladies of the world are moaning in horniness for him — and after, when she “takes paint to a whole new place.” Plus we get a little tease of Carl’s big arc in the film: that he’s no longer inspired. “You were an artist,” Ambrosia tells him, which is just about the meanest thing you could say to a man with a paintbrush. And that’s to say nothing about the flames, the newspaper-stealing, and the shot of Carl throwing paint around while wearing long johns and a robe.

Who else in the cast?

Wilson is the biggest name, unsurprisingly, but the cast is filled out with other people you’ll recognize the name or the face of. Casual star and prolific character actress Michaela Watkins, Bridesmaids and The GoldbergsWendi McLendon-Covey, Broadway’s Ciara Renée, and Office Space and Barry’s Stephen Root appear alongside Wilson, as do 50 First Dates’ Lusia Strus and newcomer Lucy Freyer.

When is the release date?

Paint is making its way into theaters April 7. But before you see it, we’d definitely recommend rewatching Utica’s Snatch Game on RuPaul’s Drag Race just to remind yourself how low the bar is for Ross impressions.

This post has been updated.

Owen Wilson Is (But Isn’t) Bob Ross in Paint