Post Magazine

February 2015

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Page 19 of 51 18 POST FEBRUARY 2015 ast July, director Richard Linkla- ter, who fi rst made a name for himself with the independent release Slacker, released his most heartfelt, idiosyncratic and ambitious fi lm to date, the tour-de-force Boyhood. Written, produced and directed by Linklater, and shot over a 12-year period, the fi lm was the fi rst of its kind — an intimate epic about growing up, as seen through the eyes of a young boy and his sister. Star- ring Ellar Coltrane as Mason, Linklater's own daughter Lorelei as his older sister Samantha, and Ethan Hawke and Patri- cia Arquette as their divorced parents, the fi lm received widespread acclaim — and has also turned into a global box offi ce hit, amassing close to $45 million so far (Boyhood was budgeted at just $4 million). Now, at press time, the indie drama is largely seen as the frontrunner in the Best Picture Oscar race (especially after it won Best Drama and Best Director at the Golden Globes), a testament to its creator's vision and perseverance. Here, in an exclusive interview, Linklater, whose credits also include Dazed and Confused, School of Rock and the Before Sunrise trilogy, talks about making the fi lm, his love of post, and the unique challenges posed by a production that spanned over a decade. This was a very ambitious project — almost like a time-lapse study of these characters. "That's a good description. I've always been interested in the passing of time, and I set out to make very intimate portraits of a family — particularly of the kids — with time going by. So in one sitting you could see a life lived, and it's an epic in its scope but also very intimate in terms of its subject matter. It's a theme that you fi nd in literature a lot, but not often in fi lm, but I felt the audience would just connect with it because of its familiar, everyday backdrop and things you can relate to. So I hoped there'd be this cumulative eff ect in the viewer, and everyone is interested in how time passes and how it aff ects us. And in my narra- tives I'm always looking for new territory and how to tell a story in a new way, and I've often found that time's an interesting structural device." IFC fi nanced this. How tough was it getting a company — and the actors — to commit to a 12-year project? "It was easy getting the actors on board. They're like, 'Cool! It'll be great.' But fi nancing any indie project is never easy. Once I really sat down with Jonathan Sehring, head of IFC, he got the same look in his eyes as the actors — like an artist would. He got it. And I got lucky, as a regular producer just cannot aff ord to think in a 12-year structure. But IFC has a channel and a library, so they can think long-term." Casting was obviously very crucial. How did you know Ellar Coltrane was the right boy for the role? "I went on my gut instinct, but you're right — it's a big risk as you don't really know if the six-year-old you start with will still work out when he's 14 or 18. I was just open enough to go where he went to some degree. The story was there, but I knew it would take a diff erent shade depending on who we cast and what happened to them in their own lives. So potentially he was the most volatile ele- ment in the mix, and I remember thinking at casting, this is a huge decision, and how do you feel totally confi dent? But every instinct told me, he's got the right family, the right background, the right support, and I think he'll grow up to be a very interesting, artistic, thoughtful per- son — and that's exactly what happened. And I feel very fortunate in that regard." Technology's changed a lot in the past 12 years. How did that aff ect your approach? "All the new technology only helped, which I love. It's there to assist us with our storytelling and hopefully make it easier. I basically had the best of both worlds, as we shot it all on fi lm and got the consistency of a 35mm negative, and then did a DI fi nish with all the incredible latitudes and abilities that you get with that. We even had a running joke from year one, as so much of fi lm production is about the perfection of the image, so you'll see a boom refl ection or a shadow in a mirror and have to cut and reshoot. I'd joke — but be serious, too — about that stuff and say, 'Don't worry, in 12 years we'll be able to just paint all those mistakes out very cheaply and quickly.' And that's exactly what happened. We were able to change a poster on a wall for nothing by the end, whereas before you'd have to rotoscope and it'd take forever and cost you $35,000." Where did you shoot and what was the BY IAIN BLAIR L A DOZEN YEARS OF PRODUCTION, POST AND REFLECTION RICHARD LINKLATER: BOYHOOD DIRECTOR'S CHAIR Ellar Coltrane and Richard Linklater. The fi lm features 143 scenes, many taking place in cars.

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