Director Richard Linklater’s filmography can be summarized in one word: nostalgic. From the lazy summer days of Dazed and Confused to the awkward trials and tribulations of adolescence in Boyhood, Linklater is a master of capturing the unique relationship between the youth and pop culture that can come to define a generation.
With his latest film, Everybody Wants Some!!, Linklater shifts his focus toward the early 1980s, taking us on a journey through collegiate life in that era. The Wheel participated in a round table interview at the Atlanta Film Festival with stars Blake Jenner, Will Brittain and Tyler Hoechlin to discuss the filmmaking process.
The Signal, Georgia State University: How challenging was it to stay within the era the movie was set in?
Tyler Hoechlin: Rick [Linklater] made it really easy. There were specific “no’s” and “you can’t do this” and “you can’t do that.” He was our guide for everything. He’s a wealth of knowledge. We weren’t allowed to high five because he would say, “Yeah, I didn’t have my first high five until around ’82 or ’83.” His recollection was amazing. He was really our safety net.
Will Brittain: It wasn’t hard. It sounds cheap, but I think we all did a little research [on the ‘80s] coming into it. As we were workshopping [the film], we just stayed in it. It just sort of became second nature. We listened to music from that time for two and a half months straight. That’s all we listened to, so it was as method acting as you can get without going in there and actually method acting. We just had fun.
Noah Roberts, Technique: Richard Linklater is an A-list director and filmmaker. What kind of dynamic does he bring to the set?
WB: Honestly, he’s completely himself. I don’t know if you watch him during interviews, but he’s laid-back and charming. That’s how he is in real life, and he’s very [prone] between scenes to grab a football and ask if anyone wants to play catch. He’s just a really talented guy who loves making movies.
Blake Jenner: He’s just like a bro. I think the first thing we did once we got to his farm till rehearsals and practices was [play] a game of football. That set the tone of competitiveness in that one football game [in the film] but got the brotherhood and camaraderie going that you see on the screen.
TH: He just brings an ease and quietness to the set without actually being quiet. You don’t feel rushed. There’s no anxiety. It’s very calm and very still. It’s that kind of energy with the person running that show that runs down through everybody. Nobody feels anxious. Nobody is stressing out. It’s a great environment to work in. It allows you to be more creative and not worry about execution.
Vikrant Nallaparaju, The Emory Wheel: This film has a big cast. How do you think that affected filmmaking both on set and behind the scenes?
WB: We hung out. I didn’t think that we would all getting along as well as we did going into it. We became best friends, truly really great friends. These are guys I would have watch my dog or go to my weddings. I would throw a bachelor party for any one of these guys. That just came from a lot of cuddling.
BJ: In the two weeks of rehearsal, we had baseball practices and dance rehearsals and run throughs of the script, but I think the most important homework we did was getting to know each other and getting to that sweet spot of pulling pranks and making fun of each other. I think that was the most important thing.
Noah Roberts, Technique: The layout of the film is very interesting since it takes place over the weekend before classes start. What was it like filming and how did you capture that cohesiveness? Did you film it chronologically?
TH: No, the baseball stuff was the first thing we shot. But during the rehearsal process, we had done so much … [that] it was kind of like running a live play. I think the cohesiveness [of the film] was just a result of running through the material so much. One of the points of the ending is that frontiers are where you find them … When you go off to college, it’s that moment of “Oh God, I can go any direction now.” It’s that first time in your life where you have the freedom to choose where you want to go.