- Joe Gross American-Statesman Staff
“Boyhood,” which is getting the best reviews of any movie this year, is also doing well at the box office. It opened last week in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles before expanding this weekend to Austin and other cities, and it grossed $359,000, for a theater average of $71,800, the highest of the summer and a record for director Richard Linklater.
Here are a few highlights from the “Boyhood” Q&A with Richard Linklater, Ellar Coltrane (who plays Mason, the titular character), Patricia Arquette and producer Cathleen Sutherland that took place Sunday after a 1 p.m. special screening in Austin.
About filming that Astros game and the homer therein: “Of course we had permission,” Linklater said. “You can’t just go into a major league baseball game with two 35 millimeter cameras.” He also acknowledged how lopsided the 2005 Astros were, noting how the team got to the World Series that year primarily on pitching talent.
With the camera pointing more or less down the third base line, Linklater said the best he was hoping for was “a grounder to third.”
Not only did Astros player Jason Lane (whom Linklater called “my favorite player ever now”) hit a home run that day, something the Astros were not exactly prone to do at the time, but he he also hit it “right in the middle of the frame.
“The baseball and cinema gods were smiling on us that day,” Linklater said.
On cutting the film: “There isn’t a five-hour version of this movie,” Linklater said. “If anything, we cut less than we did on a regular movie.”
Most of what ended up on the cutting room floor were specific lines or moments. Linklater pointed to one line from veteran character actor and Linklater regular Richard Robichaux, who plays Mason’s boss, who says to Arquette’s character at one point, “You could make a dog break a chain.”
“That was a new one to me,” Linklater said.
“I would like Richard Robichaux to be in every movie,” Coltrane added.
On the references to the War in Iraq: “I wanted this movie to be like a memory, and the War in Iraq was certainly part of that and something Mason would remember,” Linklater said. “When I grew up, Vietnam was always in the backdrop.” Linklater was born in 1960.
Patricia Arquette talks “Boyhood”
“Rick asked me what I would be doing for the next 12 years,” Patricia Arquette said in an interview Monday. She is, of course, talking about Richard Linklater approaching her to play the mother in “Boyhood.”
“He told me the premise, and I got very excited about it,” she says. “I was in.”
Arquette says she had a lot in common with her character. “My parents weren’t divorced, but my father was the breadwinner and my mother did absolutely everything else,” Arquette says. “My mother also went back to school and got her degrees in the therapeutic sciences.” Linklater has said his mother’s return to school when he was a kid was a big influence on Arquette’s character in “Boyhood.”
“My son (actor Enzo Rossi) was born when I was 20,” Arquette says. “I turned down what would have been my biggest role to that point (“Last Exit to Brooklyn”) because of that. There were not a lot of actresses my age then who chose to do that. I know what it’s like to be a single mom.”
After she was cast as the mother in “Boyhood,” Arquette says she spent a weekend with Coltrane and Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, doing mom and kid stuff. “We made mac and cheese and did art projects,” she says.
While Arquette emphasizes that Linklater “absolutely wrote this movie,” she does note how unusually collaborative the process was, often with the cast all in the room during rehearsals talking about their characters or bits of conversation they had overheard.
“You’re curating the human experience when you do something like that,” Arquette says.
“I have been in a lot of faux collaborations,” she added. “Someone says ‘this is going to have your input,’ and then it doesn’t. And they don’t respect your point of view no matter how many movies you’ve made or how long you have been in the business.
“‘Boyhood’ was not like that, and I saw that in the way that Rick was listening to the kids,” Arquette says. “Their perspective is fresh and new, and as an adult, it is very hard to imagine how kids perceive the world.”