Despite his status as something of an indie auteur, Richard Linklater is reassuringly populist in his thinking about movies, particularly when it comes to sequels. In 2004 he produced a sequel to “Before Sunrise” entitled “Before Sunset,” and after “School of Rock” became a runaway success, he and star Jack Black have spent years trying to mount a follow-up. But when it comes to his much-beloved “Dazed and Confused,” Linklater hasn’t explored that possibility as actively, although in interviews not long ago he mentioned the possibility of a second installment – well, sort of.
In an interview Wednesday with The Playlist at SXSW, Linklater and his frequent star Matthew McConaughey — in town to promote their latest effort "Bernie" — addressed the rumors that there might be a “spiritual sequel” to the 1993 film, reportedly entitled "That's What I'm Talking About." Additionally, the duo talked about the (currently) only existing new material produced involving characters from the film, a music video for artist Butch Walker which featured an appearance from McConaughey’s lecherously cool high-school graduate Wooderson.
You two have enjoyed a great partnership for so long, and it started with “Dazed and Confused.” You mentioned in the past you might make a “spiritual sequel” to that film – what’s the status of it?
Richard Linklater: It’s not really a sequel; that’s a word that just kind of comes out. They’re not the same characters. For me, it’s just college – it’s college, and now those characters, it’s coming up on 20 years since we shot that though.
Matthew McConaughey: Wooderson’s hanging out in LA clubs with a couple of chicks – he’s still dialed right in.
Linklater: Yeah, we know that. Wooderson’s doing just fine. You could be dating college chicks still (laughs). So yeah, I don’t know how that fits in. That’s just another film like “Bernie” that I’m wanting to make, and maybe someday I’ll get the money to do it.
Matthew recently revisited that now-iconic "Dazed & Confused" character for a music video. Did you two talk about that beforehand?
Linklater: A little bit, yeah.
McConaughey: I called him. We’ve got to get this down right, because I haven’t repeated what you said right yet, and it’s so great. My friend Butch Walker, who’s a musician, we’re talking about it, and all of a sudden, it wasn’t about Wooderson, but we’re talking and he goes, “yeah, it’s kind of like Wooderson.” I go “yeah what if he was?” He said, “Wooderson would be great!” And I said, “let me call or write Rick, because he bore Wooderson.
Linklater: And then we both kind of birthed him. He’s ours.
McConaughey: So I write [Richard], because he’s ours and we’re kind of precious about the character.
Linklater: We’re precious, a little bit.
McConaughey: And Rick wrote back something like, “I don’t see any other incarnations of Wooderson out in the world post-Dazed. See what he’s doing.” And you ended it with something like, “But you know, thanks for asking, because-“
Linklater: You would never violate the sacred-
McConaughey: “The sacredness of this character.” He was basically taking the piss out of it, saying, “Wooderson is so precious.”
Linklater: I said the bar is so [high], but the bar is actually kind of low. But we need to go look up that email. I thought that was hilarious, and I laughed out loud at it.
McConaughey: He said it was cool, and then I said, “You’ll be happy – I got his guy dialed in again.”
"Bernie" hits theaters on April 27th.