TBT: 23 films to his name, a look at Linklater


Fred Tally-Foos

Since the release of his Texas-centric film “Boyhood,” director Richard Linklater has become much more famous. When The Daily Texan reporter Leah Welborn spoke with him in 1994, he was riding on the success of his first two films, “Slacker” and “Dazed and Confused.”

“Austin’s right on the verge of being the big film town,” Linklater said. “There are a lot of people shooting a lot of high-profile films here because people like Austin, they like filming here.”

The idea that Austin is anything but a film town is hard to believe for most residents in 2014. It seems that there is a festival devoted to a different sect of the film watching community every other weekend. When South By Southwest added film to its schedule in 1994, the capital city drew attention from film industry professionals from around the world. 

Welborn discussed the extent to which audience members connect with Linklater’s films. 

“Last week’s Austin-American Statesman ran a story on youth in Austin, and the conclusion the writer seemed to come to was that every young person in Austin has seen Slacker at least once, and it very well may have enticed a lot of people to move here,” Welborn said.

While he now has 23 director credits and two Oscar nominations under his belt, the 1994 Linklater, a college dropout from Houston, was giddy over the time he
met Aerosmith. 

“Steven Tyler’s the nicest star I’ve met,” Linklater said. “He’s the nicest guy.”

Linklater takes pride in the audience response to his films. He enjoys that “people in Chicago dress in ‘70s clothes and go to the film. They smoke pot in the theater and sneak in beers. It’s turned into a little concert.” 

One of the hallmarks of Linklater’s films is his tendency to ignore the typical Hollywood format. His films feature small casts followed over a short period of time. This trend first appeared in his film “Before Sunrise,” released shortly after his interview with the Texan. 

“The two previous films I did tied in a lot to society and culture,” Linklater said. “But this story is really outside of everything. It’s two people just lost in the night, just passing through.” 

Linklater said it came together quickly, taking only 11 days to write, 25 to film and three weeks to edit. This film went on to prompt two sequels, both of which were also well-received critically.

After the recent release of his film “Boyhood,” filmed over 12 years with the same cast, it is clear that Richard Linklater loves Austin in film. The city features heavily in many of his famous flicks, and he advocates for the city’s relevance to the film industry. Linklater jokes about the effect he’s had on the Austin art scene, saying, “I guess I’ve done my small little part to help ruin Austin.”