By Jane Kellogg Murray
Austin’s own Richard Linklater kicked off the South by Southwest Film Festival Friday night for the global premiere of Everybody Wants Some — billed as the "spiritual sequel" to the director’s breakout hit, Dazed and Confused.
Set in 1980, the film follows incoming freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) as he navigates college life with a testosterone-driven team of baseball players. The audience is led through the final few days before school begins, before athletic and academic pressures set in.
Linklater, who himself played baseball at Sam Houston State, said he based much of the film on his own personal experiences. "Almost everything in this movie really happened," he told the crowd in a Q&A session following the screening.
To ease the transition into character, the movie’s young heartthrob actors — including Teen Wolf’s Tyler Hoechlin, The Expendables’ Glen Powell, and My All American’s Juston Street — lived together for three weeks in Linklater’s home. Their praise for the director was effervescent, on everything from his demeanor on set to a seemingly endless knowledge of ’80s trivia.
"His recollection of details, dates, attitudes is so immense and so detailed," Hoechlin said. "That was the greatest resource we had."
"We called him Rick-ipedia for that reason." Powell added.
One bit of the ’80s Linklater remembers fondly is attending the Austin festival in its early days. While the film festival is in its 23rd year, SXSW as a whole celebrates three decades this year. "SXSW’s growth mirrors Austin’s growth, mirrors my own growth," he told the Statesman on the red carpet. "I’m really proud of what they’ve accomplished."