Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Richard Linklater'
Start a new discussion about 'Richard Linklater'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

Early life


Linklater was born in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

. He studied at Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879 and is the third oldest public institution of higher learning in the State of Texas. It is located in Huntsville, Texas. It is one of the oldest purpose-built institutions for the instruction of teachers west of the Mississippi River and the first...

 and left midway through his stint in college to work on an off-shore oil rig
Drilling rig
A drilling rig is a machine which creates holes or shafts in the ground. Drilling rigs can be massive structures housing equipment used to drill water wells, oil wells, or natural gas extraction wells, or they can be small enough to be moved manually by one person...

 in the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. While working on the rig he read a lot of literature, but on land he developed a love of film through repeated visits to a repertory theater in Houston. It was at this point that Linklater realized he wanted to be a filmmaker. After his job on the oil rig, Linklater used the money he had saved to buy a Super-8
Super 8 mm film
Super 8 mm film is a motion picture film format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an improvement of the older "Double" or "Regular" 8 mm home movie format....

 camera, a projector, and some editing equipment, and moved to Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

. It was there that the aspiring cineaste founded the Austin Film Society
Austin Film Society
The Austin Film Society is a non-profit film society based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1985 to exhibit independent, experimental, foreign and various other non-mainstream art films, the film society has grown from just film exhibition to fostering independent filmmaking in Texas and has served as...

 and grew to appreciate such auteurs as Robert Bresson
Robert Bresson
-Life and career:Bresson was born at Bromont-Lamothe, Puy-de-Dôme, the son of Marie-Élisabeth and Léon Bresson. Little is known of his early life and the year of his birth, 1901 or 1907, varies depending on the source. He was educated at Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, Hauts-de-Seine, close to Paris, and...

, Yasujiro Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu
was a prominent Japanese film director and script writer. He is known for his distinctive technical style, developed during the silent era. Marriage and family, especially the relationships between the generations, are among the most persistent themes in his body of work...

, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Maria Fassbinder was a German movie director, screenwriter and actor. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema.He maintained a frenetic pace in film-making...

, Josef Von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg — born Jonas Sternberg — was an Austrian-American film director. He is particularly noted for his distinctive mise en scène, use of lighting and soft lens, and seven-film collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich.-Youth:Von Sternberg was born Jonas Sternberg to a Jewish...

, and Carl Theodor Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer, Jr. was a Danish film director. He is regarded by many critics and filmmakers as one of the greatest directors in cinema.-Life:Dreyer was born illegitimate in Copenhagen, Denmark...

. He enrolled in Austin Community College
Austin Community College
The Austin Community College District is a regional community college district with eight campuses and 12 centers located in and around the city of Austin, Texas, United States....

 in the fall of 1984 to study film.

Since his early 20s, Linklater has been a vegetarian.

Career


Linklater founded the Austin Film Society
Austin Film Society
The Austin Film Society is a non-profit film society based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1985 to exhibit independent, experimental, foreign and various other non-mainstream art films, the film society has grown from just film exhibition to fostering independent filmmaking in Texas and has served as...

 in 1985 together with his frequent collaborator Lee Daniel
Lee Daniel
Lee Daniel is a cinematographer. He was born Lee Cavender Daniel in Dallas, Texas on 23 January 1962. His best known film is Dazed and Confused, directed by Richard Linklater. Daniel has worked on many of Linklater's films and worked with Linklater as a co-founder of the Austin Film Society. He is...

, and is lauded for launching and solidifying the city of Austin as a hub for independent filmmaking.

Inspiration for Linklater's work was largely based on his experience with the film Raging Bull
Raging Bull (film)
Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from the Jake La Motta memoir Raging Bull: My Story. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy,...

, Linklater told Robert K. Elder
Robert K. Elder
Robert K. Elder is an American journalist, author and film columnist.- Early life and education :A Montana native, Elder interviewed Ken Kesey for his high school newspaper. The author encouraged Elder to attend his alma mater, the University of Oregon, which Elder did two years later...

 in an interview for The Film That Changed My Life
The Film That Changed My Life
The Film That Changed My Life is a non-fiction collection of interviews compiled by American journalist, author and film columnist Robert K. Elder...

.

It made me see movies as a potential outlet for what I was thinking about and hoping to express. At that point I was an unformed artist. At that moment, something was simmering in me, but Raging Bull brought it to a boil.


For several years, Linklater made many short films that were, more than anything, exercises and experiments in film techniques. He finally completed his first feature, the rarely seen It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books
It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books
It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books is the first feature film by Richard Linklater, filmed on Super 8 and edited at a public-access television cable TV station, with Linklater starring and handling all production duties....

(which is now available in the Criterion Collection edition of Slacker
Slacker (film)
Slacker is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also appears in the film. Slacker was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.-Plot summary:...

), a Super-8 feature that took a year to shoot and another year to edit. The film is significant in the sense that it establishes most of Linklater's preoccupations. The film has his trademark style of minimal camera movements and lack of narrative, while it examines the theme of traveling with no real particular direction in mind. These idiosyncrasies would be explored in greater detail in future projects.

To this end Linklater created Detour Filmproduction (an homage to the 1945 low budget film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

 by Edgar G. Ulmer), and subsequently made Slacker
Slacker (film)
Slacker is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also appears in the film. Slacker was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.-Plot summary:...

for only $23,000. The film is an aimless day in the life of the city of Austin, Texas showcasing its more eccentric characters.

While gaining a cult following for his independent film
Independent film
An independent film, or indie film, is a professional film production resulting in a feature film that is produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system. In addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies, independent films are also produced...

s, such as Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused (film)
Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film's large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, Joey...

, Waking Life
Waking Life
Waking Life is an American animated film , directed by Richard Linklater and released in 2001. The entire film was shot using digital video and then a team of artists using computers drew stylized lines and colors over each frame.The film focuses on the nature of dreams, consciousness, and...

, and A Scanner Darkly
A Scanner Darkly (film)
A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 science fiction thriller directed by Richard Linklater based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of identity and deception in a near-future dystopia constantly under intrusive high-technology police surveillance in the midst of a drug...

, his mainstream comedies, School of Rock
School of Rock
School of Rock, also called The School of Rock, is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black...

and the remake of Bad News Bears, have gained him wider recognition. In 2003, he wrote and directed a pilot for HBO with Rodney Rothman
Rodney Rothman
Rodney Rothman is an American screenwriter, television producer, and author.In 2005, he wrote the book Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement. He wrote currently the storybook of the horror comedy film The Something.-Filmography:...

 called $5.15/hr, about several minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

 restaurant workers. The pilot deals with themes later examined in Fast Food Nation
Fast Food Nation (film)
Fast Food Nation is a 2006 American/British drama film directed by Richard Linklater. The screenplay was written by Linklater and Eric Schlosser, loosely based on the latter's bestselling 2001 non-fiction book of the same name...

. In 2004, the British television network Channel 4 produced a major documentary about Linklater, in which the filmmaker frankly discussed the personal and philosophical ideas behind his films. "St Richard of Austin" was presented by Ben Lewis and directed by Irshad Ashraf
Irshad Ashraf
Irshad Ashraf is a British documentary film maker with a reputation for making stylish, visually innovative documentary films about history, art and politics....

 and broadcast on Channel 4 in December 2004 in the UK. In 2005, Linklater was nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for Best Adapted Screenplay for his film Before Sunset
Before Sunset
Before Sunset is a 2004 American romantic drama film and the sequel to Before Sunrise . Like its predecessor, the film was directed by Richard Linklater. However, this time Linklater shares screenplay credit with both actors from the movies, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy...

.

Many of Linklater's films take place in one day, a narrative approach that has gained popularity in recent years. Slacker
Slacker (film)
Slacker is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also appears in the film. Slacker was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.-Plot summary:...

, Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused (film)
Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film's large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, Joey...

, Tape
Tape (film)
Tape is a 2001 drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Stephen Belber, based on his play of the same name. It stars Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman. The entire film takes place in real-time.- Plot :...

, Before Sunrise
Before Sunrise
Before Sunrise is a 1995 romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse , a young American, and Céline , a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and...

, and Before Sunset
Before Sunset
Before Sunset is a 2004 American romantic drama film and the sequel to Before Sunrise . Like its predecessor, the film was directed by Richard Linklater. However, this time Linklater shares screenplay credit with both actors from the movies, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy...

are examples of this method. Two of his recent films, (A Scanner Darkly
A Scanner Darkly (film)
A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 science fiction thriller directed by Richard Linklater based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of identity and deception in a near-future dystopia constantly under intrusive high-technology police surveillance in the midst of a drug...

and Waking Life
Waking Life
Waking Life is an American animated film , directed by Richard Linklater and released in 2001. The entire film was shot using digital video and then a team of artists using computers drew stylized lines and colors over each frame.The film focuses on the nature of dreams, consciousness, and...

), used rotoscoping animation techniques. Working with Bob Sabiston
Bob Sabiston
Bob Sabiston is an American film art director, computer programmer, and creator of the Rotoshop software program for computer animation. Sabiston began developing software as a graduate researcher in the MIT Media Lab from 1986 to 1991...

 and Sabiston's program Rotoshop
Rotoshop
Rotoshop is a proprietary graphics editing program created by Bob Sabiston.Rotoshop uses an animation technique called interpolated rotoscoping, which has been used in Richard Linklater's films Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, as well as the Talk to Chuck advertising campaign for Charles Schwab....

 to create this effect, Linklater shot and edited both movies completely as live action features, then employed a team of artists to 'trace over' individual frames. The result is a distinctive 'semi-real' quality, praised by such critics as Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 (in the case of Waking Life
Waking Life
Waking Life is an American animated film , directed by Richard Linklater and released in 2001. The entire film was shot using digital video and then a team of artists using computers drew stylized lines and colors over each frame.The film focuses on the nature of dreams, consciousness, and...

) as being original and well-suited to the aims of the film.

Fast Food Nation
Fast Food Nation (film)
Fast Food Nation is a 2006 American/British drama film directed by Richard Linklater. The screenplay was written by Linklater and Eric Schlosser, loosely based on the latter's bestselling 2001 non-fiction book of the same name...

(2006) is an adaptation of the best selling book that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry. The film was entered into the 2006 Cannes Film Festival
2006 Cannes Film Festival
The 2006 Cannes Film Festival ran from May 17, 2006 to May 28, 2006. Twenty films from eleven countries were in competition for the Palme d'Or. The President of the Official Jury was Wong Kar-wai, the first Chinese director to preside over the jury....

 before being released in North America on 17 November 2006 and in Europe on 23 March 2007.

Despite the popularity of some of his films and having directed two high-paying Hollywood productions, Linklater remains in Texas and refuses to live or work in Hollywood for any extended period of time.

Significance


Film scholars and commentators consider Richard Linklater's films to be significant in a number of ways.

In the early 1990s, Slacker
Slacker (film)
Slacker is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also appears in the film. Slacker was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.-Plot summary:...

was hailed as something of a manifesto for Generation X
Generation X
Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western post–World War II baby boom ended. While there is no universally agreed upon time frame, the term generally includes people born from the early 1960's through the early 1980's, usually no later than 1981 or...

 because the film's young adult characters are more interested in quasi-intellectual pastimes and socialising than career advancement. However, Linklater has long since eschewed the role of generational spokesperson and is ironically a "Baby Boomer" himself. Moreover, the movie actually includes various generations, and many of its themes are universal rather than generation-specific.

Those of Linklater's films that have non-formulaic narratives about seemingly random occurrences, often spanning about twenty-four hours, have been hailed as alternatives to contemporary Hollywood market-driven blockbusters. In conjunction with these unorthodox narratives, the emphasis on philosophical talk over physical action in Slacker
Slacker (film)
Slacker is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also appears in the film. Slacker was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.-Plot summary:...

and Waking Life
Waking Life
Waking Life is an American animated film , directed by Richard Linklater and released in 2001. The entire film was shot using digital video and then a team of artists using computers drew stylized lines and colors over each frame.The film focuses on the nature of dreams, consciousness, and...

aligns Linklater's work with art cinema traditions, particularly those of Europe, from which much recent American cinema is estranged.

Filmography

  • Woodshock (1985)
  • It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books
    It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books
    It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books is the first feature film by Richard Linklater, filmed on Super 8 and edited at a public-access television cable TV station, with Linklater starring and handling all production duties....

    (1989)
  • Slacker
    Slacker (film)
    Slacker is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also appears in the film. Slacker was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.-Plot summary:...

    (1991)
  • Heads I Win/Tails You Lose (1991)
  • Dazed and Confused
    Dazed and Confused (film)
    Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film's large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, Joey...

    (1993)
  • Before Sunrise
    Before Sunrise
    Before Sunrise is a 1995 romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse , a young American, and Céline , a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and...

    (1995)
  • subUrbia
    SubUrbia (film)
    subUrbia is a 1996 comedy-drama film written by Eric Bogosian, based on his play of the same name, and directed by Richard Linklater. It follows the relationships between a few young adults as they spend their time standing on "the corner" outside a local convenience store.Bogosian based the story...

    (1996)
  • The Newton Boys
    The Newton Boys
    The Newton Boys is a 1998 drama film based on the true story of the Newton Gang, a family of bank robbers from Uvalde, Texas. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Dwight Yoakam. It was filmed in Austin, Bartlett, New Braunfels, and San Antonio,...

    (1998)
  • Waking Life
    Waking Life
    Waking Life is an American animated film , directed by Richard Linklater and released in 2001. The entire film was shot using digital video and then a team of artists using computers drew stylized lines and colors over each frame.The film focuses on the nature of dreams, consciousness, and...

    (2001)
  • Tape
    Tape (film)
    Tape is a 2001 drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Stephen Belber, based on his play of the same name. It stars Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman. The entire film takes place in real-time.- Plot :...

    (2001)
  • Live from Shiva's Dance Floor (2003)
  • School of Rock
    School of Rock
    School of Rock, also called The School of Rock, is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black...

    (2003)
  • $5.15/hour (2004)
  • Before Sunset
    Before Sunset
    Before Sunset is a 2004 American romantic drama film and the sequel to Before Sunrise . Like its predecessor, the film was directed by Richard Linklater. However, this time Linklater shares screenplay credit with both actors from the movies, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy...

    (2004)
  • Bad News Bears (2005)
  • A Scanner Darkly
    A Scanner Darkly (film)
    A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 science fiction thriller directed by Richard Linklater based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of identity and deception in a near-future dystopia constantly under intrusive high-technology police surveillance in the midst of a drug...

    (2006)
  • Fast Food Nation
    Fast Food Nation (film)
    Fast Food Nation is a 2006 American/British drama film directed by Richard Linklater. The screenplay was written by Linklater and Eric Schlosser, loosely based on the latter's bestselling 2001 non-fiction book of the same name...

    (2006)
  • Inning by Inning: A Portrait of a Coach (2008)
  • Me and Orson Welles
    Me and Orson Welles
    Me and Orson Welles is a 2009 period-drama film directed by Richard Linklater and starring Zac Efron, Christian McKay, and Claire Danes. Based on Robert Kaplow's novel of the same name, the story, set in 1937 New York, tells of a teenager hired to perform in Orson Welles's stage production of...

    (2009)
  • Bernie
    Bernie (2011 film)
    Bernie is an American comedic film directed by Richard Linklater, and written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth. The film stars Jack Black as Bernie Tiede, Shirley MacLaine as the elderly widow, Marjorie Nugent, and Matthew McConaughey as the local District Attorney. It made its world premiere...

    (2011)
  • Boyhood
    Boyhood (film)
    Boyhood is a working title for the upcoming film directed by Richard Linklater and starring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Ellar Salmon. Filming began in the summer of 2002 in Houston, Texas.-Plot:...

    (2013)

External links