Paint: Plot, Cast, Release Date, and Everything Else

Paint got its start on the 2010 Black List for the most-liked unproduced screenplay. There, it was ranked alongside screenplays for Jackie, Argo, Snow White and The Huntsman, Gangster Squad, The Butler, What Happened To Monday?, what would go on to be HBO’s Succession, and more.

The Black List is created by around three hundred high-ranking film executives, studio assistants, and in-the-loop studio representatives. They compile a list of unproduced screenplays uniquely associated with that year of publication (written in that year, based on a novel in that year, etc.). Many screenplays have reached some level of notoriety within the studio community but, for one reason or another, remain not acquired, thus cementing their status on the Black List. Years after being placed in this publication, Brit McAdams’ Paint is finally making its way to the big screen.


The film’s premise bears a striking similarity to Bob Ross, a culturally-significant painter, personality, art instructor, and television host of PBS’s The Joy of Painting. Ross is known for his even-keeled demeanor. He spoke in hushed, calming tones while simultaneously offering warm guidance and painting instruction. He sported an afro and trimmed beard and often appeared in denim (dubbed a “Canadian Tuxedo”). Ross had a marked influence in the 1980s-1990s before dying in 1995 due to Lymphoma complications. However, his influence persists today. Ross and his show gained new momentum during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown by finding a brand-new audience with Gen-Z and millennial viewers and recalling former fans to the award-winning show.

While Paint includes many of the hallmarks of Bob Ross, Brit McAdams took only inspiration from the “Happy Trees” painter as he authored this upcoming comedy film.

Paint: The Plot

American Public Television 

IFC Films offered this official synopsis:

“Carl Nargle, a local treasure with a soothing whisper of a voice, has been hosting his own painting show on Vermont public television for decades. His art captivates and has attracted the attention of many women over the years, especially those who work at the station. But Carl is in a rut, and the station isn’t pulling in ratings. When a new painter is hired to revitalize the channel, Carl’s own fears regarding his talents as a painter are brought to the forefront.”

Nargle’s voice, demeanor, and easy-to-follow instructional technique cultivated a loyal, enthusiastic audience. His signature style includes an afro, pipe, long-sleeve button-down shirt, light-wash denim, and a large palette and brush in-hand (not unlike Bob Ross). All of this in combination means that his audience comprises doting Vermont viewers… and a string of starry-eyed, adoring women, both as viewers and colleagues.

Despite his artistic success and stature in Vermont society, Carl is in a creative rut. On top of that, the station isn’t maintaining the ratings and long-term viewership that it once had. The station ultimately hires a new, young painter to reinvigorate the channel. The painter will be using the same method and platform that Carl spent decades pioneering. Because of this, Carl’s fear of losing his artistic talent is compounded by his fear of being replaced by the new up-and-comer.

How will Carl and the new contender fare? Will a new generation find Carl’s work and reenergize the show, much like Gen-Z found Bob Ross? Can Carl fortify his artistic talent against the looming rut in which he found himself?

Paint: The Cast and Crew


Paint stars Owen Wilson (Marley & Me, Wedding Crashers, Loki), Michaela Watkins (Werewolves Within, Sword of Trust, CBS’ The Unicorn), Ciara Renée (CW’s Arrowverse), Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids, ABC’s The Goldbergs), Lusia Strus (Search Party, 50 First Dates), and Stephen Root (HBO’s Barry, Office Space), and breakout star Lucy Freyer.

Brit McAdams wrote and directed the film. Sam Maydew and Peter Brant produced the movie, with Owen Wilson, Richard J. Bosner, and Joel David Moore serving as executive producers. Additionally, IFC Films and Silver Lining Entertainment produced and distributed the film.

Release Date

Dreamworks Pictures

The film will premiere in theaters on April 28th, 2023, and stream exclusively on AMC+ later that year.

Paint: Everything Else

After acquiring the rights to Paint, Arianna Bocco, the President of IFC Films, issued a statement:

“We’re thrilled to finally work with the boundless and versatile talent of Owen Wilson, as he effortlessly brings Carl Nargle’s character to life from a savvy script and direction by Brit McAdams. Paint has all the makings of a quotable comedic masterpiece, and we hope audiences of all ages are ready for a lot of laughs and a lot of heart.

In every step of making the film, we’ve fought to team up with talented collaborators who are also good people. From our first conversation, IFC felt like the perfect home for Paint, not only because of how much they love the film and how respected they are in the industry, but also because of who they are as individuals. We’re all beyond excited to have them add their signature to this picture.”

Despite the attention Britt McAdams has earned for Paint, this marks his feature directorial debut. McAdams has previously written for Tosh.0, Katt Williams: American Hustle, and Triviatown.