Hi Reddit, I'm Richard Linklater, writer/director of films such as SLACKER, DAZED AND CONFUSED, BERNIE, BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET.

My new film, BEFORE MIDNIGHT, opens in select theaters this Friday. I'm looking forward to answering your questions, so Ask Me Anything!

Proof: http://instagram.com/p/ZnkarmpQvt/

Edit: Signing off now. Thanks for the great questions, Reddit!

Comments: 605 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

doodeemachetto152 karma

Waking Life is incredible and one of my favorite movies. I have watched it more times than I can count.

Are there any "easter eggs" or small things to look out for that I might never have noticed? Do you have a favorite scene from that movie?

RichardLinklater117 karma

The animators planted plenty of 'easter eggs' all over the place. I'm still discovering them.

If I had to watch one scene from that movie at this second it might be the "Holy Moment." Maybe that's because I saw Caveh the other night in NY.

grandlarseny86 karma

What's the status of the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused?

RichardLinklater230 karma

Hoping to make it this fall, actually. A college comedy. I feel like mixing it up with a big ensemble.

harperlee970 karma


RichardLinklater100 karma

Yes, you're the first person to comment on that!

Bigbadmotherfucker164 karma

I absolutely loved dazed and confused . Was any of the story taken from your high school experience ? Keep up the good work .

RichardLinklater103 karma

Yes, pretty much all of it.

A_Evil_Laugh61 karma

Many of your films focus on time. Each film in the Before Trilogy takes place in the year you filmed it. Tape is all in real time. You have been filming Boyhood for over 10 years to properly age the main actors.

What films influenced your unique cinematic perception of time?

RichardLinklater73 karma

Hard to say what films. The ability to manipulate time is such a unique property to cinema. I spend more time thinking about how it affects narrative.

thedude3756 karma

In Waking Life, did the main character actually die when the car hit him? Is that why everything goes surreal and farther from reality the whole time? But then again, even the events leading up to the car hitting him were pretty surreal, so what's the deal with that?

In Slacker, it seems that you highlighted the "recent" rise of American Libertarianism and juxtaposed it with true anarchism (the Ron Paul ad and the old man being robbed). What side to you fall on, or were you trying to highlight the pros and cons of each philosophy?

Also, what's Alex Jones like in real life?

RichardLinklater98 karma

You could certainly argue that it all takes place in various levels of "unreal" environments.

Glad you picked up on the nod to Ron Paul in Slacker. I'm with the Libertarian ideology on the freedom front... but I'm kind of a safety net guy, too -- don't like ideologies when they result in cruelty. There is a way in our world, given all of our resources, to have both.

Alex is a friend. Super smart, and a really nice, polite guy. (Well, maybe not to Piers.)

firstinthesea55 karma

I'm a huge fan of your films, especially your Before Sunrise trilogy. Celine and Jesse have some of the best back and forth dialogue and chemistry I've seen in any movie. Now that the series is ending, what will you miss the most about working with Delpy and Hawke? Thanks again for answering our questions!

RichardLinklater101 karma

It's definitely ending for the next 6 or 7 years, but we're not ruling out revisiting Jesse and Celine at 50 or so. But if it ends at a trilogy we're OK with that, too.

irockmysock50 karma

Do Ethan and Julie have any say in the choices their characters make in the film Before Midnight?

RichardLinklater99 karma

Absolutely. We write the films together and it's a wonderful collaboration.

devilsadvocado41 karma

Have you ever had a lucid dream? Can you share the details?

RichardLinklater142 karma

Yes. I've just realized I'm in one right now.

jjgless35 karma

Hi Mr. Linklater! I’m a huge fan of your work. You make a 21 year old man cry everytime he watches “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset.”

Your commitment to the progressive filming of Boyhood over a 12 year period is fascinating! How did you decide to take on the project, and what have you learned from it?

Even if you decide to wrap up the series with “Before Midnight” would you ever consider returning to Celine and Jesse some 20 years from now? Have you written any other conceptual ideas for potential chapters in the future?

Keep up the great work! From “Slacker” to now, you have really continued to make original pictures.

RichardLinklater54 karma

Thanks... Then you might cry with the new one also. The 12 year project came to mer as a narrative answer when wondering just which point of childhood I wanted to depict in a film. I couldn't decide and thought maybe a little of ALL of it would be interesting -- watching characters age subtly where are Jesse and Celine jump 9 years and age between films. Time itself is a powerful storyteller.

LivingLeper34 karma

I am a huge fan of your work, thank you.

1) What percentage of the dialogue would you say is improv between Hawke and Delpy throughout the entire trilogy?

2) Are there any films in particular that strongly influenced the trilogy?

3) What does Keanu Reeves smell like?

RichardLinklater70 karma

1) The percentage of improv in the 3 movies is exactly 0%. It's all scripted and rehearsed until Julie and Ethan practically lose their minds.

2) I wouldn't think there are any films that 'strongly' influenced it.

3) I'm pretty sure he smells like Keanu Reeves, if you're lucky enough to get that close!

rumpofsteelskin32 karma

What led you to choose Jack Black to play the lead in Bernie?

The reason I ask because it was such a different role for him yet he played it so beautifully and dark - really the casting in that film was one of the better ones in recent memory.

RichardLinklater36 karma

Thanks! Yes, I think Jack is incredible in the movie. Having worked with him before, I just sent him the script hoping he would relate to Bernie and want to jump in with me. So glad he did!

devilsadvocado27 karma

What do you think about the "childization" of movies these days? It seems that Hollywood marketing has successfully turned us all into children. Do you think we are as dumb as the movies we watch, or are we playing dumb in order to enjoy what is commercially available to us?

RichardLinklater49 karma

A good question. A real chicken or egg situation. But as long as people keep going, the films you seem to be alluding to will certainly keep coming. At any moment there are a lot of options available for those who want to look a little deeper into the cinematic landscape.

natbarros26 karma

Hello from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! I can't wait to watch "Before Midnight". This trilogy is definitely part of my favorite movies and the one that most touches my heart! Why or how was the process to choose Austria and Greece as the location for the first and new/last movie?

RichardLinklater46 karma

Believe it or not, the location is the last piece of the puzzle. Then it becomes a major character in the movie.

Fiedy8825 karma

The Dazed and Confused soundtrack is one of the best in films from the past 50 years. How much input did you have in the song selection?

RichardLinklater50 karma

It was fun to pick out and place every song in the movie. It was the soundtrack of my teenage life, so it was easy.

fanggoria25 karma

In Slacker, can you give us some insight on the ritual the man who runs over his mother is performing? I was always confused as hell by him cutting pictures out of the yearbook....and the clip on a loop is unsettling. How do YOU interpret that scene?

RichardLinklater53 karma

I'm glad that's unsettling to you. It was meant to be. It is creepy! I knew a guy who did cut out yearbook photos of people he didn't like and burned them.

mi-16evil25 karma

You came into the film industry in a very different time when the industry was more inclusive for independent filmmakers. How do suggest young people today find a way into the industry nowadays?

Also how are you liking Austin these days? I love it here, but it seems like many people who've lived here over 10 years start to hate it.

RichardLinklater49 karma

Yeah the studios are just not interested in a certain kind of film anymore. That said, the indie world seems more diverse than ever. Filmmakers are going to get their films made an seen somehow or another.

I've been in Austin for 30 years this summer. It's like a long term relationship for me.

solarandlunar23 karma

So, as a huge admirer of your work and of the themes in your stories, I have about eight million questions undoubtedly. I heard brevity was the soul of wit somewhere, so I'll try to be as witty as possible.

1) One of the things I love most about your work is your depiction of younger kids. Teenagers, children ~ your movies, perhaps more than a majority of the films being made today, give them depth and respect and this incredible voice that I think capture the essence of what being young and confused is all about. 'Dazed' really shaped my high school experience and I was wondering if 'That's What I'm Talking About' had any chance of coming out. Do you see Kickstarter or Netflix being the new saviours for projects like these for future filmmakers or is too much of the industry still deeply invested in anachronistic business models?

2) Waking Life has to be my favourite movie of all time; my question about it comes in terms of how one goes about writing something like that. Were the vignettes in the film written by you or were they more of a collaboration between people where you asked them to write or contribute something to the film? It has an air of documentary at times, and at others, it's probably the closest to Slacker than any of your other movies have gotten. So I was wondering how exactly a film like that is written and conceived.

3) Lastly, Steven Soderbergh's 'State of Cinema' speech was very enlightening for a lot of people wanting to get into film, or into any art form in general, I think. What trends are you starting to see in cinema today? Are you hopeful or cynical about where the art form is headed? How does your role as a creator change with such an altering landscape in terms of finance, distribution and audience?

Keep causing chaos, man! Peace and Love, WJr.

RichardLinklater39 karma

1) See above and sure, I think everyone likes the idea of connecting with your audience directly via Kickstarter or any other connector. I think that will only grow and morph in the coming years in a really interesting way.

2) I thought of Waking Life for probably 20 years before making it. A lot of the content was derived in collaboration with the cast, (not so different from the Before movies), but I spent a lot of time really working on the pacing and structure of the film. My films, even though I want them to feel very loose, are actually pretty intricate constructs to me.

3) I'm always hopeful about where the art because I still feel there are so many possibilites out there. As far as the finance landscape, distribution, etc., it always feels like a bit of a mess and as soon as you make a big pronouncement, things are usually changing a little bit. If I had to say one thing about the current moment, it's the best time ever to be a filmmaker, but the hardest time ever to get your film seen. (Well, maybe a little better than 3 years ago, but who knows.)

kevin2828223 karma

Hi Richard! My girlfriend is a big fan of your work and she has a few questions for you...

  1. I read Before Sunrise was inspired by meeting a woman in a toy shop. Is this true? What happened after that night?

    1. How has this series influenced your own life?
    2. Will you make a Before film every 9 years?

Thanks so much!

RichardLinklater35 karma

True. The film is dedicated to her.

I don't know about influenced, but I've gotten to make films in 3 different European locations!

I don't know, but I would like it to be an option for the next 50 years or so.

cecinestpasreddit23 karma

I have to ask, as a thespian, any relation to Kristin Linklater of the Linklater Excersizes?

RichardLinklater43 karma

Yes! We met once at Columbia University. We're definitely related -- our ancestries go back to an island in Scotland. I'm a big Hamish fan, too.

sidceaserphotography20 karma

Hi Richard, Love your films.

In regards to Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight - are we ever going to see Criterion versions of these on blu ray? I'd love to see really nice high definition editions of these - the first two being some of my favorite films ever. Please!!! :) Thanks! Keep on doing what you do.

RichardLinklater39 karma

Yeah, I think there will be a box version in our future, I'm sure on Blu-ray. Not sure when.

charitygraff18 karma

Please settle a longstanding question from Before fans. Is the Waking Life scene from Jesse or Celine's dream?

RichardLinklater44 karma

Neither. It's from the unnamed protagonist of Waking Life's dream. Or maybe it's just my own cinematic fever dream.

thirdrail6917 karma

Do you believe that consciousness exists or can exist independent of a living body?

Also, sweet snacks or salty?

RichardLinklater57 karma

I believe different things at different times. Currently, I would say no.

How about both?! I would suggest almonds with sea salt and dark chocolate.

nicostick16 karma

First and foremost, fangirl spaz moment: I'm such a huge fan of your writing and directing. Your style is unique and refreshingly relatable. I dunno if it's a Texan thing or just that you seem like the most laid back dude. Most importantly, I really need to thank you outright for Waking Life. When the real world starts to suck waaay more than it should, that film is one of the few things that brings me out of a depressed zombie funk, keeps me level, and really makes me feel alive. So a million times over, thank you.

I'm really excited for this Boyhood project. I've been eyeballing IMDb for years waiting for news.

  • What's the most realistic ETA?
  • Are we safe to assume, given the premise, it'll have your signature existential flare?
  • I've seen a lot of discussion about how filmmaking technology is obviously advancing from the time you began filming to it's completion - how will this effect the finished product, if at all?
  • And finally, completely unrelated - what's your favorite novel of fiction?

RichardLinklater19 karma

  • 2014 hopefully
  • I guess!
  • Technology is very helpful, but I don't want it to show too much in the final film.
  • Holy crap, I can't answer that! Too many.

north_american_scum16 karma

Hi Richard! Your films have made an indelible change in my life, especially during my teenage years. What films or directors influenced your life, either personally or as a director?

RichardLinklater19 karma

So many! Once you devote your life to film you're kind of in for the whole thing. I've noticed different kinds of films have inspired me at different points in my life, but the goal is to see everything.

SpecialK95914 karma

After watching both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset which I absolutely adore, I had assumed a lot of the dialogue was improvised but then I read an interview with Julie Delpy who said it was all written and rehearsed as far down to their hand movements and facial expressions. How did you go about filming that? It seemed so damn natural. Also, considering most of the takes are so long, how long did it take to get it exactly right? By the way thank you for making two of my favorite movies and for doing this AMA. Can't wait for Before Midnight!

RichardLinklater33 karma

The key to this is having actors who can pull it off. I know what Ethan and Julie are capable of and can push it in that direction. The bottom line is it's really difficult to do this sort of non-acting acting. It's a compliment when people think it's improvised, but I don't think anyone could ever understand how much work it is for them.

ZER0MUS13 karma

Why do you think the story of Celine and Jesse resonates so strongly with so many people? The "Before" movies all take an incredibly romantic concept but bring it down to Earth, so I'm curious to see why you think it works.

RichardLinklater19 karma

I think Celine and Jesse are fairly normal and relatable -- heightened versions of ourselves.

ZER0MUS11 karma

Has Jesse ever watched a movie starring Ethan Hawke? Would he have liked Hamlet (2000)?

RichardLinklater16 karma

I'm sure the novelist in Jesse would enjoy Michael Almereyda's take on Hamlet.

drewbixme11 karma

I saw in one of the Before Midnight publicity photos that you were on crutches. Did you direct the film with a broken leg? Major kudos, looking forward to this Friday's opening in LA. (I broke my ankle coincidentally on the day the trailer debuted).

RichardLinklater12 karma

Yes! Ten days before shooting I broke my ankle and Greece is a very uneven country to get around. One of those injuries you've completely forgotten about, but seeing that picture of me on crutches send a shiver down my spine.

rdrnr11 karma

I would love to know what the writing process was like for you, Julie, and Ethan for "Before Midnight."

Did you physically sit together around a table and write the script? Who typed or hand wrote dialogue? The details please!

RichardLinklater14 karma

For this one, we really sat in a room and greased together for weeks and weeks and weeks. For seven weeks we worked 14 hours a day. We all have laptops, but I tend to keep the master script.

FruitOfTheWomb9 karma

Love your films. Love the beard.
Two Questions:
1) Does your future include more rotoscope projects? 2) Favorite musical artist?

RichardLinklater17 karma

1) No current plans for a rotoscope movie. I don't currently have a story that that style seems appropriate for.

2) Been listening to a lot of Fats Waller lately.

mdsnbelle8 karma

I left work early to come to this, I'm so excited to be here. :)

As a writer myself, I've always wondered how easy it would be to step into the world of certain characters once again. I'm sure when you set out to do Sunrise, you weren't thinking Sunset, and when you did Sunset, you weren't thinking Midnight. (Unless you were, then please let us know). How, then, did you know that it was time to revisit Jesse and Celine? And how did you go about establishing where they are today?

RichardLinklater12 karma

It happened the same way it did on the second film. Six or seven years go by and then we realized Jesse and Celine have something to say about the new place in life they find themselves. Then the 3 of us spend a couple of years really thinking about it and eventually we're making the movie.

wmille157 karma

What movies have you been watching lately?

Just watched Bottle Rocket the other day, and it was good—people say that was one of the most influential movies of the 90s, just as Slacker was another one, although for very different reasons. Anyway, maybe you can comment on the changes cinema was seeing in the 90s? What do you think of Paul Schrader's observed "death of the existential hero—in with the ironic hero"? I hope these don't sound like too heavy of questions—just hoping to start some film chat.

RichardLinklater27 karma

The last film I watched was Truffaut's The Man Who Loved Women.

Yes, in hindsight the 90s are starting to look like a good period for indie cinema. I don't think anyone appreciated it at the time, of course. Filmmakers always feel embattled no matter how well things are going.

I'm a big Paul Schrader fan. He signed a book to me once. But, I don't think the existential hero will ever die. It goes too well in cinema.

carmie_886 karma

Hi richard, thank you for your time. :-)

  1. i can imagine that doing a sequel to the before series isn't the easiest thing as much could go wrong. Was there anything you don't wanted to have in the third movie? A path you don't wanted celine and jesse to choose, story elements you were not interested in?

  2. how different ist before midnight compared to the very first ideas that came through your mind when you started thinking about another sequel?

Thank you again, can't wait to see the film! :-)

Best, Carmine

RichardLinklater8 karma

  1. Yeah, we spend a few years really thinking about it and working through all the possibilities. I'd say we discard 95% of the material put forth between us.

  2. What ends up in the film is actually pretty different, specifically, from our original idea, yet of the same theme, if that makes sense.

HW_Plainview3 karma

Richard, you always seem to chill in interviews and every time I see a clip of you working on set. How do you keep things from getting stressful on set? I remember seeing an interview with Sidney Lumet where he said he liked to finish at 5 o'clock just because. Do you do anything similar or do you enjoy the long days? Thanks.

RichardLinklater7 karma

Yeah, I like a relaxed vibe in the workplace, but secretly I'm a real slavedriver who doesn't mind working super long days.

LeontheTrotsky3 karma

Dont know if this has been asked already, but, after before sunrise you did an interview saying that you knew whether or not jessie and celine were going to get back together. Did that change when you guys decided to write Before Sunset?

Also Waking Life has a lot of different philosophical perspectives in it, some that contradict. How did you choose between who was going to get to talk about their philosophies in the film.

Thanks for making amazing movies! I'm extremely excited for Before Midnight!

RichardLinklater11 karma

The romantic certainly thought they would meet up 6 months later. And we find out in Before Sunset that they, of course, tried. Amazing how that situation would be technologically impossible today. There's no way they wouldn't have remained Facebook friends or something. We forget, in a not too distant era, how much of ours lives we actually spent lost and not actually connecting with others. It was a crap shoot.

On the Waking Life front, to me the question was 'Was it interesting?" never even necessarily whether it was true or contradictory to anything else in the movie.