Richard Linklater is already responsible for one of the most unlikely (and one of the most enriching) trilogies ever: the budding Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy romance in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight. After making one of the most unlikely Best Picture contenders—when he set aside a few weeks out of each of the past 12 years to make Boyhood—Linklater might be feeling that sequel itch.
Boyhood debuted 13 months ago at the Sundance Film Festival. As it is making its final lap as an Oscar nominee, Linklater is re-thinking his staunch "no way" to a Boyhood sequel. The filmmaker expanded upon his thoughts to Jeff Goldsmith, on Goldsmith's Q&A podcast:
“[Boyhood] first met its audience exactly a year ago and for the first six months of the year, my answer to that was absolutely not. This was twelve years, it was first grade through 12th grade; it was about getting out of high school. I had no idea about another story, there’s nothing to say. It hadn’t crossed my mind."
“But I don’t know if it’s been a combination of finally feeling that this is over or being asked a similar question a bunch over the last year, that I thought, well, I wake up in the morning thinking, ‘the 20s are pretty formative, you know? That’s where you really become who you’re going to be. It’s one thing to grow up and go to college, but it’s another thing to… So, I will admit my mind has drifted towards [this sequel idea].”
“If I learned anything on the Before trilogy, [it's that] it took five years to realize that Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) were still alive and had anything to say."
Linklater explained how Boyhood percolated to the top of his brain, and how his 20's are beginning to do the same:
“I start coming up with ideas about [my 20's]. The same way I thought about ‘Boyhood’: just these random little memories about being in my twenties that might seem insignificant on paper, but telling and important. And developmentally, like, ‘oh, that was kind of a moment’; a lot of moments from the fraught 20s... I would love to keep working with this cast and I think we all would. But that can’t be the primary reason to do it. You always need something to say. You can’t do it just cause you want to work with your friends, you gotta have something really inside you you’re trying to communicate about those years. I might happen, but I dunno, it’s in the ether in the moment.”
For those who complain that Boyhood petered off the older Mason (Ellar Coltrane) got, Linklater's Boyhood sequel idea shouldn't cause alarm. It sounds like he realizes that Mason—much like the Before trilogy's Jess and Celine—will have to have something new to say for him to do it.
Linklater is already in post-production to a "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused. Called That's What I'm Talking About, Linklater's official Boyhood follow-up is set in the 80s. And while it supposedly doesn't have any of the Dazed and Confused characters from that last-day-of-school 70's opus, Linklater describes it as a "party film" about starting college. It stars The Boy Next Door's Ryan Guzman, Vampire Academy's Zoey Deutch, and 22 Jump Street's Wyatt Russell and will blast into theaters before the end of 2015.
We'll have to wait a few years to see if the lingering thoughts of Boyhood will guide Linklater, Coltrane, Hawke, and Patricia Arquette to visit Mason's roaring twenties. Or if Talking About will completely scratch Linklater's twenty-something itch.
Boyhood is nominated for six Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hawke), Best Supporting Actress (Arquette), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. The winner of the Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow, in a pageant hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.