There’s ambitious, there’s ballsy, and then there’s Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood” (previously known as “Growing Up“). In case you’re playing catchup, Linklater’s project — which he has been working on for over a decade — stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as parents raising a young boy, played by Ellar Salmon, in a drama that will chronicle the life of the child from age of six through to the twelfth grade. The clever part is that Linklater has quietly been shooting parts of the movie every year since 2002, allowing his lead (and the characters around) age and mature with a realism we can’t imagine has been captured on camera before (at least outside of Michael Apted‘s “7 Up” series). Aside from that, not much else is known about the movie but it looks like we may be seeing it very soon.
Hawke recently took part in a Reddit AMA and when asked about the status of this film, he shared his experience making, and more crucially, revealed that it’s actually nearing the finish line. Here’s his full answer:
First up, I guess I should tell people what BOYHOOD is. It’s a project also known as THE TWELVE YEAR PROJECT; Richard Linklater and I have made a short film every year for the last 11 years, one more to go, that follows the development of a young boy from age 6 to 18. I play the father, and it’s Tolstoy-esque in scope. I thought the BEFORE series was the most unique thing I would ever be a part of, but Rick has engaged me in something even more strange. Doing a scene with a young boy at the age of 7 when he talks about why do raccoons die, and at the age of 12 when he talks about video games, and 17 when he asks me about girls, and have it be the same actor – to watch his voice and body morph – it’s a little bit like timelapse photography of a human being. I can’t wait for people to see it.
Next year, he will graduate high school and we will finish the film. It will probably come out in 2 years.
It’s interesting to note that it’s “a short film every year,” perhaps suggesting a chaptered structure to the film, which would make a lot of sense. And if you think this will be epic, it likely will be, with Linklater saying previously the film will be “two and a half hours long, minimum.” Damn. Moreover, it looks like he has already been editing as he’s been going along. “I’ve seen the first cut of the first seven years,” Hawke said in 2010. “And it’s definitely one of the most interesting things I have ever been a part of, no doubt…About 20 minutes, your eyes just start tearing up and you don’t even know why. It’s about the nature of time and how it’s crashing into us all.”
We’ll eagerly await to see what becomes of “Boyhood,” which sounds like yet another left turn from the always unpredictable Linklater. But for now, you can go see “Before Midnight” in theaters, the capper (for now) to his other decades-spanning narrative work.