May 12, 2013

PROFILE: Richard Linklater

"Ruddy of cheek, with long, floppy, brown hair and only a smattering of gray in his beard, Linklater, at 52, has the helpful glow of someone about to tune up your car engine, but with a daydreamer’s bashful, abstracted air. Most of his answers wind through some combination of “you know” or “I don’t know,” before hitting a groove on the effect of nitrous oxide on creativity (some of his best ideas have come in the dentist’s chair), or the Apollo 13 missions, then tailing off with a shrug and a look into his lap. At one point, comparing the mind’s imaginative leaps to the way people walk on the moon, he makes a slo-mo bound with his fingers across the table—a gesture whose disarming sweetness is impossible to imagine coming from any other working film director. He and Hawke have pitched many movies to studio executives over the years, and Linklater’s pitching abilities have not improved with time. “Rick and I would go into a meeting,” says Hawke, “trying to sell somebody on an idea for a movie, and the head of the studio would go, ‘So tell me about your film,’ and Rick would go, ‘Well, gee, I don’t know,’ and just stop there. He just doesn’t ever lie. ‘Well, you know ... what I hope to do is this.’ In a world where all directors seem like salesmen trying to project themselves as some kind of visionary, you don’t get this brittle ‘Oh, I’m an artiste, my work is important’—you don’t get any of that vibe from him. You tell him his movie is important, he’ll run as fast as he can.” — from my profile of Richard Linklater for New York


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