Thursday, August 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Boyhood’ is Richard Linklater’s crowning achievement as a filmmaker

By
July 15, 2014 |

Director Richard Linklater

Director Richard Linklater attends the New York City premiere of "Boyhood" on July 7, 2014. (Dennis Van Tine/Abaca Press/MCT)

It started as “a narrative problem,” writer-director Richard Linklater says. “How do you tell a story, with actors, over a long period of time? You can’t re-cast it when you’re catching up with somebody, year by year. The change in appearance would be too abrupt.”

He wanted to follow a child from first grade to college enrollment, “and I was stuck with the limitation of the physical appearance of whatever young actor I had.”

His solution is “Boyhood,” the most acclaimed film of the year, a movie that uses the same actors – children and adults – over 12 years of filming just a few days each year, telling a story of one Texas family and one boy. “It may be years before anyone works up the gumption to match its achievement,” critic A.A. Dowd said of “Boyhood.” And that’s almost certainly true.

Linklater, who turns 54 at the end of July, is best-known for such talky/ thoughtful films as “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” another long-term project following a couple (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) through a budding romance, a courtship and eventually years into a marriage that’s in trouble. To say the filmmaker, who got his start as an indie classic “Slacker,” is a patient man would be an understatement.

“Cinema makes you patient,” he says. “Sometimes it takes 10 years for a film you want to make to come together. That’s not unusual. But in this case, it was fun to have a life project that was taking just a chunk of time every year. I had to have my artistic antenna out, thinking about this movie, all year long, every year. Parenting, growing up, all these things that are part of life i was paying more attention to, because of this film I was making.”

And he would be taking a sensitive, introspective little boy along for the ride. Ellar Coltrane, now 19, went through “multiple auditions” as a 6-year-old, trying to land this role. He, and his director, got lucky.

“Ellar’s a lot like he is at the end of the film,” Linklater says of his star. “That’s Ellar, sitting at the top of a mountain, observing, taking it all in. That wasn’t him – Mason (his character) – at the beginning of the film. But even so, there were days, every year, where I was grateful that I’d cast the perfect kid.”

“Boyhood” follows Mason, a Texas boy, part of a broken family, as he copes with a stressed, working-class mother (Patricia Arquette) and sometimes-bullying big sister (Lorelei Linklater) and misses his free-spirited, often-absent father (Ethan Hawke).

Coltrane remembers that he was an aspiring child actor, home-schooled, going on “a lot of auditions, at the time I was cast.”  He can’t recall much about the early years of filming, but he never lost interest in this lifelong commitment and never minded giving up a chunk of each year to making “Boyhood.”

“It’s surreal,” he says, looking at the movie now. “There’s parts that are terrifying, or could be embarrassing. It’s also kind of comforting to see those parts of myself kind of magnified – these awkward teenage phases that you go through. Seeing them years later is a lot different from the way I experienced them. When you’re that age, you don’t feel like a complete person. Everything is this dramatic part of your personality. To see it all together and in context is a beautiful thing and kind of comforting and reassuring, existentially.”

Coltrane says he was always able to treat Mason, his alter ego, “as a character .  .. As much as I used myself as a reference point, I was taking those personal memories and putting them outside of myself to play Mason, putting them through a different filter.”

Linklater, despite his daughter being in the film, felt far enough removed from the world of the kids that he would give Coltrane assignments – pick his brain for what he was going through each year, and then script accordingly. Ellar’s into “Star Wars”? So is Mason. Ellar’s about to start dating? “Take notes, remember exactly what you and that first girl you talk to talked about,” Linklater says he told Coltrane.

The result is a movie that’s a lot like life itself – little details, arguments about the most banal things, kids testing boundaries, and a divorced couple trying to do right by their children. A filmmaker famed for his “gift for spotting the extraordinary in the ordinary” (Film Journal International) has his career-crowning achievement.

But perhaps the real acclaim should go to the way Linklater, for decades a role model to aspiring filmmakers, managed to make a movie without turning his young star into a diva. Coltrane is sensitive, soft-spoken and articulate. Making the movie altered his life, he admits. He idolized the set photographer, who mentored Coltrane’s budding interest in the arts. He is planning on going to college rather than solely pursing an acting career, because of that.

“In the last year of filming, sometimes I’d step back and look at Ellar at a distance and go, ‘WOW. Did I pick the right guy, or what?’” Linklater says. “He’s smart. He’s 19, he’s a good actor and he’s got options. School, acting, art, whatever. And no limits, no restrictions. Maybe that’s the message of the movie. Mason learns from his parents, that one great teacher who takes an interest in him, and his own observations. He won’t be limited, like his parents, who had responsibilities — kids — at his age. After ‘Boyhood,’ the world is his. The fact that he grew up to look like a rock star didn’t hurt, either”

Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Potrero Hills Landfill legal appeals exhausted

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Railroad crossing stalemate continues

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

First day back to school brings laughter, jitters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Breakfast after the Bell wins support

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

 
Suisun city employees get pay raise

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield candidates hear about lean, nimble city staff

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

College finalizes police department takeover, OKs bond plan

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Free e-waste collection to benefit Scarlet Brigade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield mayor to appear at GOP dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Girls on the Run seeks volunteer life coaches

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

US official: More airstrikes in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

Militants use British killer as propaganda

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Governor criticizes new-hire pension enhancements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

US mission to rescue hostages in Syria failed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Police seek mystery pair in selfies after burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

School sorry for making special ed kids sort trash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Teens deny threatening boy in school shooting plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Panel OKs state librarian despite initial concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
8 homes destroyed, 1,500 threatened by wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Drought has state debating its unregulated pumping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Holder says he understands mistrust of police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 5 Comments

Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Picture emerges of officer in Ferguson shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 9 Comments

Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
CHP says officer may face serious beating charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

Tell the story, don’t be it

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

 
 
We’re spending way too much on raising our kids

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A7

Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
California needs pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Why do parents drink alcohol after their children’s games?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
And the Emmy winners are…? We’re happy to guess!

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Aniston, Hamm, Hudson set to Stand Up to Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Sports

Fairfield boxer Avila set to put perfect 15-0 record on the line

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s stumble and must regroup with Angels coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders FB Reece’s injury not as bad as feared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Peavy pitches Giants to 8-3 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
WR Stevie Johnson adds depth to 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Las Vegas spoils Mo’ne’s night, beats Philly 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks F Torres undergoes surgery on right knee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality check for Phelps at Pan Pacific Champs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kent State starting center dies at 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Serena Williams seeded No. 1 at US Open; Halep 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart skipping 3rd straight race after Ward’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

This date in sports history for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Sports on TV for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B4

.

Business

BofA reaches $17B settlement with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Brine firm sues over biblical fracking billboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Apple’s stock bounces back to hit a new high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

David G. Gibson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Charles (Chuck) H. Doty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9