Hometown: Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Why He's On Our Radar: While Linklater is a familiar face on the small screen with a lead role opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "The New Adventures of Old Christine," and appearances on an array of shows including "Ugly Betty" and "Pushing Daisies," he breaks out this weekend on the big screen opposite Miranda July in her second feature "The Future." In the whimsical romantic dramedy, Linklater plays Jason, one half of a couple whose decision to adopt a stray cat backfires when it forces them to face what the future really holds.
What's Next: A lot. On the big screen he next appears in Peter Berg's blockbuster "Battleship" in which he costars opposite Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna, and Daryl Wein's hyped indie "Lola Verus," starring Greta Gerwig, Bill Pullman and Debra Winger. As for whether he'll be transferring to the big screen full time, Linklater said, "Funnily enough, the indie world (and not even the big blockbuster world) don’t pay what TV does. So we’ll see what happens."
indieWIRE Asks: So you kind of fell into acting by chance right?
Yeah. My mom co founded a theater company called Shakespeare in Company when I was a kid. I think it was probably cheaper than paying for babysitters, to put me in the plays. It was awesome. There’s always a kid to kill.
When did you know you wanted to pursue acting as a profession?
I tried to go to college to do something else. I wanted to be an English major but I dropped out after a year. I had a good GPA! But I got bit from all those summers by Shakespeare bugs. I couldn’t quite shake it.
How did you get involved with "The Future"? I’m guessing Miranda does things differently.
I never wanted to get a job more that I wanted to get this job, so it’s kind of amazing that I actually go it. I was a huge admirer of her movie and her short stories…and just her voice. When I read the script, I thought, 'Wow I could play that part."
I sent her chapters from my unpublishable memoir. I sent her love letters. I sent her short films that I had been in. Anything else had the Fantastic Four [he appeared in 2005's "Fantastic Four"] in the background, or a laugh track in the background. I didn’t really have anything that suggested my indie credibility.
Thank God for her being so doggedly independent and really wanting who she wants. It took a long time because the film went away for a while and then it came back. It really was happenstance that it worked out because they just were getting ready to go and I Emailed her when I was boarding a plane for Christmas saying, “Did you ever make your movie?” When I landed I had an email from her saying, “Funny you should write. We’re getting going now again. Can you fly back and audition again?” So that was just lucky.
How’s the ride been since it world premiered at Sundance?
I had been at Sundance like 11 years years previously with “Groove,” which was my first time working in front of a camera. So it was overwhelming. I spent the whole time crying and doing too much partying. I came back as a more seasoned and experienced person and I still spent the whole time crying.
It’s so beautiful and lucky to be in a film you’re really proud of that people respond to. Mainly, I’m happy for Miranda and I just hope it continues to afford her the opportunity to make more movies.
Did Miranda's script speak to you on a personal level?
I think it spoke to me in ways I wasn’t really willing to admit. But she’s such a fine writer, just technically, that I was so impressed with it. Also just the magical realism of it that feels so necessary and inevitable for these characters, that they have to talk to the moon, that they have to stop time, get buried in the ground. That’s the only way in this world to break yourself, so you can put yourself back together again. I just found it really moving. I mean I hadn’t turned 35 yet and now I turned 35. I’m like, now that’s why I desperately needed to do it, because it feels really real.
Is your future as daunting now that you have this coming out, along with a slew of other projects in the near future?
Since “The Future” I think my future is daunting as it ever was. My only security blanket is knowing that I probably will never be hired again. That keeps you hustling and working and trying to get better.