Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

'Boyhood' In Berlin: Musings From Silver Bear Winner Richard Linklater On His Epic Cinematic Journey

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire February 17, 2014 at 9:22AM

Richard Linklater discusses his epic new film "Boyhood" at the Berlin International Film Festival.
0
Richard Linklater in Berlin
Richard Linklater in Berlin

Less than a month after premiering at Sundance to endless raves and the occasional "masterpiece" designation, Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" headed to the Berlin International Film Festival late last week, essentially finding the same reception from the European press -- not to mention a Silver Bear for best director.

READ MORE: Was Richard Linklater's 12 Year Production 'Boyhood' Worth the Wait? In a Word, Yes.

As is quite well known by now: "Boyhood" was slowly created every year since 2002, with Linklater bringing together a quartet of actors to shoot for a week a year, portraying a family that evolves over more than a decade. Those actors included Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as the parents, as well as Linklater's own daughter Lorelai Linklater and Ellar Coltane (who was only seven years old when things started and came to the Berlinale a 19 year old) as their children. Very much an experiment that could have gone wrong, "Boyhood" instead is a truly remarkable portrait of family, childhood and adolescence that is unlike anything else that came before it.

Linklater chatted about the film in Berlin before he went onto win the festival's director prize. Here are 10 highlights:

On whether or not he had the whole film in his head before they started shooting:  "I had the architecture of the whole piece in mind. But then every year we got this gestation period of a year to think about each segment... It was great to have that time to think about it.

On the kind of family he wanted to portray in the film: "It wasn't an extraordinary family. It was kind of a normal family. I didn't want to show the biggest moments that we've seen in every movie about maturing. I avoided the first kiss and all that. I just wanted to kind of capture little moments. But I had faith that it would all end up because we had this time element of the structure of it. [I hoped] it would have a cumulative effect and play out over the time. So that's really what it was all based on more than the events of the film... The film was trying to be very realistic. It's all scripted and rehearsed. Films are constructs, let's face it. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of work to make then. But with the tone of the film I was trying to capture the way life kind of unfolds. Or maybe how you remember you life. Or the way time works through our lives. That's what I was trying to capture... in a not too dramatic way."

"Boyhood"
"Boyhood"

On whether or not he gave rules to his actors about what to do in the 51 weeks of the year they weren't shooting: "I didn't tell the actors too much about what to do with their lives because 51 weeks a year we weren't shooting. But Ellar would call me sometimes, when he was thinking about cutting his hair or getting an earring or something. He would ask, 'can I do this this year?' So we were conscious of it, but I knew that it would develop normally and we would with whatever was happening. I don't remember being too proactive."

On the risks of taking on a project like this: "This whole thing was a leap of faith and there was a certain amount of optimism about the future. Just that, we'd be here 12 years from then and things would work out. It was a leap of faith on everyone's part. You know, it's against the law to even contract anybody to do anything over 7 years. Much less a kid, if you think about it. I mean getting a six year old to agree to do something for 12 years. That's technically illegal, I think. But Ellar has very cool parents, I can say that... Lorelai's parents I'm not so sure about."

On whether he'd do a follow-up project to "Boyhood": "The story I was trying to tell was this point in childhood. In the US, it's like first through twelfth grade. Those 12 years you are stuck in the public school system and stuck in your parents house. I look back at my own youth and that's kind of the prison sentence you've been handed as a youth. So it was about how to negotiate through that. Beyond that, I didn't really have anything more to express about this. That doesn't mean we couldn't pick up in young adulthood and go forever... You know, so... Who knows? But we haven't talked about it. We're still recovering from this."

On casting Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette: "I'd worked with Ethan Hawke before and I talked to him about it just as an idea. He agreed immediately to do it because it sounded so strange. He got this weird look on his face and said 'yeah, that's crazy.' And then I was thinking about who could play his ex-wife. Who's the mom? And I had met Patricia once before in the mid-1990s and talked to her for a little while then. But I'd always been a big fan and knew she'd been a mother rather young in her life and I just called her up and we talked for a couple hours. Patricia was the only one I'd thought of, and I asked her 'what are you going to be doing 12 years from now? I hope to getting a film made, and you'll probably be looking for a part.' And here we are. She's very brave and fearless that way. And that was the quality I was looking for." 

"Boyhood"
"Boyhood"

On casting Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater: "I met a lot of six and seven year old kids at that time, and it's a huge leap. Ellar's parents seemed very supportive. They're both artists. And I though that would be the familial support to get us through. But he was also just a thoughtful kid and I liked talking to him. And he ended up growing up to be this really cool, thoughtful guy. So there were other ways it could have gone. He could grown up to be a 200 pound wrestler, and the movie would have gone in that direction a bit. And then Lorelei, as my own daughter, seemed to be interested in it at that age. But that ebbed and flowed over the years... I'm really proud of them, though. They worked so hard and really went through something unique with this. And I couldn't be more thrilled with the young adults they've become. Obviously my daughter, I'm close to, but Ellar felt like the son I never had."

On why it's called "Boyhood" even though it's about four people: "Titles are difficult. 'Boyhood' we just sort of fell into. It was the name on our call sheet every year. And we also called it 'The 12 Year Film.' But in the end, it's the point of view of the movie. While it's really about a family, it's primarily from his perspective. So that was the name."

This article is related to: Richard Linklater, Berlin, Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin 2014, Boyhood






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More