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Best of 2014: How Richard Linklater cast his 'Boyhood' star

Since debuting at January’s Sundance Film Festival, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has become one of the most critically adored films in recent memory. Audiences felt the same way, swooning at the story of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) and his complicated family as he ages from 6 to 18 years old. The experimental $4 million movie, filmed in Texas with little fanfare over a dozen years, has grossed more than $43 million around the world and become one of the favorites for Best Picture.

The experience has been surreal, to say the least, for 20-year-old Coltrane, whose life to this point is indirectly documented in the film. “People feel like he’s a family member,” says Linklater. “I’ve been on the street where people want to hug him; old ladies treat him like he’s their grandson. It’s kind of crazy for us to feel that connection and to feel that exuberance.”

EW chatted with Linklater, Coltrane, and Patricia Arquette to discuss how it all started. What did Linklater see in 6-year-old Coltrane that made him want to spend a decade with him?

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2014 coverage. READ FULL STORY

Patricia Arquette is all-in for more 'Boyhood'

Guardians of the Galaxy and Mockingjay might be the year’s biggest movies, but 2014, in many important ways, has also been the year of Boyhood. Since it debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival to rhapsodic reviews, Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-the-making story of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) and his family has forged a deep bond with audiences and critics alike. From Sundance, it went to Berlin in February, where it won several awards, and then reveled in a euphoric homecoming at March’s SXSW Festival in Austin. It opened in July in the heart of blockbuster season, and is still humming along 22 weeks later, already earning more than six times its $4 million budget. Now, with awards season shifting into high gear, Boyhood might actually be the Oscar frontrunner after critics groups in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston named it the best film of the year.

Boyhood is about a boy named Mason from the ages of 6 to 18, but it would require just minor editing to reframe it as Motherhood. Patricia Arquette plays Olivia, the divorced mother-of-two who pulls herself up by her bootstraps to provide a life for Mason and his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). It is almost as much her movie as Mason’s, because her arc, from an overwhelmed single mom to a successful college professor—with a couple bad marriages thrown in between—is so raw and riveting. Olivia is courageous and vulnerable, and Arquette is so powerfully authentic, perhaps because of 12 years of her own life experiences that paralleled the production of the film: her own new baby, a teenage son leaving the nest, a new marriage and a divorce. “This movies means so much to me personally,” she says, “and the people in it mean so much to me personally because it’s a movie about kids growing up and families and human beings, and it’s kind of a love story to the working class.”

Arquette has been the one to beat in the Best Supporting Actress Oscar race since January’s premiere, and recent year-end prizes have provided additional momentum. With Boyhood poised for Digital HD release tomorrow (Dec. 9)—the Blu-ray/DVD arrives on Jan. 6—Arquette spoke to EW about her amazing Boyhood experience, struggling to say goodbye, and the house fire that kept the project going. READ FULL STORY

Meet the nice guy who plays 'Boyhood's terrifying stepdad

boyhood-trailer.jpg

A character actor with more than 80 film and TV projects to his name, Austin, Tex.-based Marco Perella is receiving his widest exposure ever—for a movie he finished shooting eight years ago. As the drunk disciplinarian stepfather of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) in Richard Linklater’s decades-spanning Boyhood, Perella plays the pathetic bully with a finesse that’s left some viewers thinking the movie was all too real.

EW spoke to Perella about his role in the film and the choice of words when he’s being praised for being bad.

The interview below references specific scenes and plot details of Boyhood. READ FULL STORY

Patricia Arquette channeled the personal in 'Boyhood'

Movie moms often get the short shrift in terms of character development: When seen over a number of years, they’re either the immutable rock of the family or a one-dimensional obstacle. But in Boyhood, which director Richard Linklater filmed with the same actors over 12 years, Patricia Arquette’s Olivia is as in-flux, flawed, and complex as the kids who are growing up before the audience’s eyes.

EW got a chance to speak to the actress about her experiences and surprisingly personal inspirations for Olivia.

The interview below references specific scenes in Boyhood.

READ FULL STORY

'Boyhood' trailer: See Richard Linklater's little movie that took 12 years to make

There have been some great movies that capture the idea of childhood in a particular moment in a boy’s life. For example, Stand By Me. But Richard Linklater didn’t want to limit himself to one moment, or one age, or even one decade, as it turns out. For Boyhood, he cast a child (Ellar Coltrane) as his protagonist, Mason, and then built a story around him that he continued for 12 years, until the boy went off to college. It’s not a documentary, like the 7-Up series, but a complete, well-crafted character study. Not only do Coltrane and Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, who plays Mason’s sister, grow up literally before your eyes, but the parents — Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette — also age and grow and learn.

The cut of the film that screened at Sundance was bursting with nostalgic popular music — songs that may or may not be licensed as part of the finished film — but the trailer makes great use of “Hero” by Family of the Year. It’s the perfect tune to tell this story. Watch the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Richard Linklater discusses 12-year process of making 'Boyhood' -- VIDEO

Boyhood

Director Richard Linklater put an astonishing twist on the classic coming-of-age story when he decided to shoot his latest film, Boyhood, over the course of 12 years. The film follows the life of 7-year-old Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows and makes his way through his formative years from elementary school to high school.

EW’s Sara Vilkomerson sat down with Linklater and Boyhood stars Ethan Hawke (Getaway), Patricia Arquette (Boardwalk Empire), and Ellar Coltrane (Lone Star State of Mind) to discuss the process of making a film whose principle production started 4208 days ago:
READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Richard Linklater's entrancing 'Boyhood' captures the Zen of growing up

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which premiered at Sundance last night, is an entrancing, one-of-a-kind act of dramatic storytelling: a beautiful stunt of a movie. It was shot over a period of 12 years, beginning in 2002, and it takes two hours and 40 minutes to tell the story of a boy named Mason as he grows up in Texas. The hook of the movie — and if it is a stunt, it’s a visionary one — is that Mason is played throughout by a young actor named Ellar Coltrane, who we literally watch grow up, year after year, on camera. That makes the film a kind of cousin to Michael Apted’s series of Up documentaries, but I’m not sure if this sort of thing has ever been attempted in a work of cinematic fiction before.

Linklater, of course, is a storyteller who reveres the art of naturalism, and Boyhood, though it’s a genuine movie, full of bustlingly staged scenes and performances and motifs and arcs, has the feel of a staged documentary about a fictional character. It’s lively and boisterous and very entertaining to watch, because stuff keeps happening, but the film also rolls forward in an almost Zen manner, so that everything that occurs — an angry family dinner, a camping trip, a haircut, an afternoon of videogames — carries the same wide-eyed, you are here significance. The film has that deadpan Linklater tone of slacker haphazardness, but you could also say that it’s almost Joycean in its appreciation of the scruffy magic of everyday life. READ FULL STORY

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