1. He nearly became an oil tycoon (sort of)…
He dropped out of college and worked on a rig for two and a half years, telling Reverse ShotOnline, ‘The oil rig was the first job I ever had that paid well, so instead of going back to college that summer, I kept that job. That experience had been kind of wonderful; it was like being in the service, I think, but better than the army. You fly around on helicopters, you work really hard, it’s vaguely dangerous. It was something good to do at that age, so unexpected, what no one wanted me to do.’
2. Linklater learned a hard lesson about archiving (and wildfires)…
When his entire personal film archive was destroyed at his Texas home after the devastating 2011 Bastrop wildfires. Ethan Hawke told New York Magazine “Thirty years of work. He lost everything. And when I called him to say how sorry I was, he was already thinking about how grateful he was for the fire for teaching him not to be materialistic. This makes him sound like Saint Rick. He’s not. He’s his own mysterious entity.”
3. Richard Linklater will kill you with a plastic straw…but only if you don’t follow cinema etiquette
Don’t Talk – Richard Linklater from Alamo Drafthouse on Vimeo.
4. He cites Raging Bull, which came out when he was 18, as the film that truly opened his eyes to cinema
And here’s Robert De Niro taking the credit…
5. The true story that inspired Before Sunrise is touched by tragedy…
The inspiration for Linklater’s Before Sunrise, was an encounter that Linklater had with a woman in Philadelphia. Linklater spent the night walking the city with her and talking but, contrary to the movie, they stayed in touch for a while afterwards until they lost touch. Linklater never heard from her again, even after the film was released. It was not until many years later that Linklater found out that Amy had died in a traffic accident a few years after they had met.
6. He’s not afraid to take a huge gamble…
Linklater didn’t want to contract child-star Ellar Coltrane to Boyhood, telling the New York Times “You wouldn’t contract anyone to do something like this for 12 years, much less a 6-year-old” Even if he wanted to, it’s not legal to contract someone for a 12 year project and Coltrane could have backed out at any time. The big gamble has paid off with a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a healthy £330,000 for its opening weekend in the UK and Ireland and the kind of critical adulation that made Peter Bradshaw call it ‘one of the greatest films of the decade’.
7. Still, for all his success he probably has a hard time at high school reunions…
In 2004 three former Huntsville High School classmates called Wooderson, Slater and Floyd sued Linklater for defamation due to the similarity of their names to characters in Dazed and Confused. They didn’t win. Linklater always wins.
Richard Linklater’s acclaimed BOYHOOD is on release now at the IFI.
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council