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Rick and Orson Welles

Rick and Orson Welles

As Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles prepares its U.S. release (Thanksgiving weekend in select cities, and then nationwide soon after), there’s a growing number of interviews with Linklater about all kinds of topics (especially questions about his next projects). This weekend’s New York Times has a good article by Dennis Lim that circles the myth of the real Orson Welles, with Linklater plugging in the holes about his own approach for this new period drama. However, I’d say the best Linklater interview I’ve read so far, comes from Christian Raymond’s Q&A in the Austin Film Society’s own publication Persistence of Vision.

Granted, Linklater is a founder of the Austin Film Society, but the discussion in this piece still opens up some intriguing topics. It’s such a relaxed conversation, there are even some minor plot spoilers in there, so be careful. Among the key tidbits: Zac Efron’s character in the film was inspired by a real kid (actual photo included in the article), what it’s like casting British actors instead of American actors (the NYC story was shot in the UK), and tackling the legendary presence that was Orson Welles (played terrifically by newcomer Christian McKay):

Linklater: Christian and I had this graph, tracking when [Orson Welles is] being himself, and where he’s “b.s.-ing.” … I think this describes so many [artists]. They’re either shy or have problems in the real world, but that artificial niche that’s been created, via plays or music, whatever their art is, that’s where they can really be themselves.

John Lahr, Burt Lahr’s son, wrote this wonderful thing about his dad (who played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz), that I’ll never forget: “I learned what all great performers’ children learn; that the best of my father went to his audience. Anything that was left over, we got.” He saved up the best for himself and I said, “Wow that’s kind of sad.” But that’s the blessing and the curse.

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