'All of my friends are in this movie': 'Slacker' cast reunites in Austin for 30th anniversary
“It’s like the high school reunion where you actually want to see everybody.”
Oscar-nominated Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater had a big smile on Tuesday evening at the Paramount Theatre. More than three dozen cast and crew members of “Slacker,” his 1990 directorial debut, lined up on stage at a screening to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film’s national release, where they shared their memories of the production.
The “real” 30th anniversary, Linklater noted, was the previous summer, when “Slacker” first screened in Austin at the Dobie Theater. Asking for a show of hands by those in the Paramount crowd who attended those 1990 screenings, he responded, “You’re the hardcores, the OGs.”
A mild surprise: plenty of faces in Tuesday’s crowd appeared to be in their 30s and 40s (plus a few younger than that), which indicates the film has had staying power for generations beyond its original audience of moviegoers who are now mostly in their 50s and 60s.
Cast and crew members took turns speaking in two groups, to keep the Paramount stage from being too crowded. One by one, a microphone was passed down the line, with each person sharing a story about making the movie.
- Jennifer Carroll, credited as “All-Night Partier” for her brief appearance near the end of the film, noted that “I did stay out all night, because I’m a method actor.”
- Kathy McCarty, whose role was “Anarchist’s Daughter,” said she brought several wardrobe options to the shoot, but in true “Slacker” fashion, she was instructed to “just wear what you have on.”
- Ron Marks, whose role as “Bush Basher” involved a rant against then-President George H.W. Bush, declared: “I’m still a 'Bush basher' today, but a George P. Bush basher.”
- Don Stroud, who played the “Recluse in Bathrobe,” talked about being one of several cast members recruited from the old Lake Austin Boulevard location of Magnolia Cafe, which Linklater frequented. Linklater recalled meeting with Stroud about the part: “It wasn’t really an audition. It was like, ‘So, what are you doing?’”
- Wammo, who played a Continental Club bartender, lives in Pittsburgh now but found out about the reunion from the reporter's American-Statesman preview story over the weekend and flew to Austin on the spot. He marveled at how his part in the film was “one of the few roles that actually had a job.”
- Scott Van Horn, who had a brief role as “Nova” and worked at Kinko’s at the time, remembered countless nights of running photocopies for Linklater’s Austin Film Society projects. “AFS is forever indebted to Scott,” Linklater added.
- Suzanne Simone, listed in the credits as “Working on Same Painting,” said she’s still working on that same painting. On Tuesday, she also was sporting the same cowboy boots that she wore in the movie.
- Many cast members offered fond recollections of the late Denise Montgomery, who had an engaging role as a fortune card distributor and also worked on the film’s sound and art crews.
- Bruce Hughes, a native Austinite who’s played bass with acts ranging from Poi Dog Pondering to Bob Schneider to the Resentments, delivered a sweet sentiment: “All of my friends are in this movie, and I love you all.”
After the screening, Linklater joined AFS head of film and creative media Holly Herrick for a brief Q&A, before many cast and crew members (including the director) headed to East Austin's Sahara Lounge for an afterparty that included musical performances by McCarty and cast member Jean Caffeine.
Linklater ended the Q&A by telling the crowd, cast and crew: “We’ll see you guys at the 40th!” — then adding, with a sly grin, “You make a film, and it exists, and you’ve got to deal with the rest of your life.”