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Interview Exclusive HTF Interview: Glen Powell & J. Quinton Johnson (Everybody Wants Some!!) (1 Viewer)

Neil Middlemiss

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Director Richard Linklater is one of the great American filmmakers. His last film, Boyhood, was the epitome of his strengths as a master at examining the ‘ordinary’. His films often feature fascinating innovation (Boyhood filmed with the same cast over 12 years, A Scanner Darkly animating filmed performances, Waking Life transcending animated film approaches).

He chose to follow up Boyhood – which became a critical darling – with Everybody Wants Some!!, a film altogether more straightforward and a comedy that serves as a “spiritual successor” to Dazed and Confused. But Everybody Wants Some!! – the story of a freshman baseball player arriving to his new teammate’s house the weekend before college starts back up, is a more casual affair. It works primarily as a comedy, though Linklater’s independently minded and natural approach provides the film with an easy going mood and seeks to put a smile on your face as much as offer up the chance to reminisce about your own college days.

Everybody Wants Some!! is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.

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HTF: I appreciate you guys taking some time to talk with me today. Everybody Wants Some!! takes us back to a time that I expect many of us have a similar experience. For most of us it's college, but ultimately its moment where responsibilities are off in the future and you're just having fun and a sense of pure freedom, teasing friends and enjoying good times. Did that mirror experiences within your own lives or was this total make-believe for you?

J. Quinton Johnson: For me, it was a bit of make believe just because I didn't get two years into college before this started. So a lot of the filming wasn't what I guess what I would be going through in college. I did have a prior reference for that. For the debauchery and freedom that we portrayed in the film, it is essentially a heightened…

Glen Powell: [Quinton’s] a 60-year-old man caught in a 21-year-old, I guess we call man's body [chuckles]. He’s bigger than us, so he can beat us up. So I can't really crack that shit about him. The fact is he's way more mature than pretty much any guy on this thing. I would say the debauchery-- I bet the debauchery was new for you, right?

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J. Quinton Johnson: Yeah. What you notice if take a good look at the film is I never take a sip of alcohol. I did several scenes where I had liquor in my hand, but I never take a sip. It was non-alcoholic, but I just was almost uncomfortable [laughter], because I never drank before. I had just turned 20, so I was like, "I don't want to my mom to see me drinking."

Glen Powell: They're not going to arrest you [laughter]. That's so funny. I didn't even realize that. I went to the University of Texas as well. I had a little bit more of a rowdy experience than Q. I was only there for one year before I left.

J. Quinton Johnson: Only one!

Glen Powell: Yeah, and then went out to LA. I would say that with growing up and playing on sports teams, and this is the response from most people – is that it mirrors pretty much everybody's sports experience in some way or another. It's kind of like a timeless movie in that sense. I've played on a sport's team and my dad's like, "Yeah that was my team. I knew every single guy on that team." And I'm like, "I knew every single guy on that team." So I think you have a lot of athletes in this cast that were bringing real-life inspiration from all across the board. And you start to realize we all kind of had the same job, so to speak [chuckles].

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HTF: And Q, I was a fan of your character. It was interesting, you didn't get into any scuffles and seemed the most level-headed, and I say that with respect given the amount of fun you all had, but among all that you were very grounded while letting loose just as much as everybody else [chuckles]. There was a grounded, mature nature to your character - wise about the world and wise about where these guys were – similar in some way to [Glen’s] Finnegan character. How you found that Dale? How did you found the person that was Dale?

“Rick had these ideas he had a specific time period and thoughts and ideas that were written into the script. And we were all trying to figure out the best way to communicate those thoughts and ideas…”

J. Quinton Johnson: Well, so much of it was coming from myself and in talking with [the director] Rick and how he saw the character fitting into the film. When I first read the script, Dale was a very small role. But then after going through the call back process, I read a new draft and the role was significantly expanded. My first question to Rick was, "Okay, why, how, and where did this come from? What are your ideas on this guy?" The script, from the first day we all started reading it to the very last day, was always fluid, was always changing. Rick had these ideas he had a specific time period and thoughts and ideas that were written into the script. And we were all trying to figure out the best way to communicate those thoughts and ideas.

So a lot was just talking with Rick, and asking, "How do you see this guy fitting in? How can I bring tools to create that essence?" Early on [Rick] told me how Finnegan and [my character, Dale] shared a room, which is a detail that's not shown in the film, but a lot of me being the way I am in the film - being Dale - is from listening to someone like Finnegan. So at the point we are introduced in the movie, I had already lived with him for a year listening to him go on and on and on and on and on [chuckles] informing on his perspectives and digesting it. You got to adapt, because [chuckles] they're older guys and they're just going to run right over you. Finnegan is just going to talk you to death. Jay Niles is just going to throw you into the dirt. McReynolds is not going to give two shits about you. And if you don't figure that out and learn and roll with it, immediately, you're going to be sitting there like, "Miss they threw baseballs at us, we don't know what to do."

"It is interesting when you get down and dirty with a guy like Rick who gives you a very, very long leash to see what you can come up with together..."

Glen Powell: And remember, when we [first] went in the house and we actually had to choose our rooms? That was a cool thing. Rick gives everybody so much freedom. But then it was really interesting when we were doing rehearsals at Rick's ranch, the actual houses that we were shooting in were 10, 15 minutes away? Really close. And we just got to go, "Okay, where in this house do we fit? And who's living with who?" So even little details like that, and when I discovered the pipe for Finnegan which I saw that in the prop room, I thought that was something where I can see "Okay, he's a little bit statelier." There's a certain essence of the way a guy with a pipe walks, or talks, or looks at people, you know [chuckles]? Or even the cadence of his voice changes when you have a pipe. You accentuate certain things when you have a pipe [chuckles].

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It is interesting when you get down and dirty with a guy like Rick who gives you a very, very long leash to see what you can come up with together. And that's why I think every character in this movie really developed.

HTF: As a director, Richard Linklater is probably one of the finest examples of a director who understands conversation and understands human nature in the “ordinary”. Because there's something extraordinary that's born out of what is, relatively speaking, an ordinary weekend. It's just the weekend before you guys start classes, but it feels like an eternity and that's a piece of the universal appeal of this film. I grew up in the UK. We didn't have sunny days and lakes to jump in quite like you guys did in the film [chuckles]. But what’s universal is that experience of time seeming to slow down right before you have something you have to do.

J. Quinton Johnson: Yeah, you’re right.

HTF: Glen, you got a little bit to my next question. But your Finn character was such a joy to watch – he was one of those smart, philosophical, a realist, and cheeky and endlessly charming characters. How much of that person was you and how much did the director influence who he became. I get the impression with that long leash you were able to bring quite a bit of who you are to that character.

"But Rick's like, "I want Finnegan to be who you thought you were in college...""

Glen Powell: I think the best thing you can do with any character is figure out how it fits into you. It's Rick's ideas so you have to figure out how [the words he writes] fit into your mouth, and where that fits in you. But at the same time, I've got to say, Rick had a very specific idea on this character. We talked a lot about who this guy was and where he fit in this world, because it's very easy for a character like this to kind of go off the rails, because he can be a little bit of a caricature - in a good way.

And Rick would talk about [Finnegan]. He's not real, he's not based off of anyone where a lot of these guys are based on real people. This was really more based on a concept of when, in hindsight, you look back at your college experience, and everybody thinks they're cooler, smarter, and sexier. They were with the best looking girl. They'd get the grades then partied harder than anyone [chuckles]. But then when you actually look back on it, you were probably pretty average. But Rick's like, "I want Finnegan to be who you thought you were in college." So that idea of being fun and being the life of the party all the time was kind of birthed from his idea of that.

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HTF: When James Cameron was making Titanic - and he's a perfectionist director as you probably know – but he made sure all the details of the [Titanic] were as precise to the real ship as possible. Details that no one else would understand or know unless they were specifically trying to nitpick. And when I was watching Everybody Wants Some!!, I have to believe that the director protected the accuracy of what we were seeing and hearing of that era - the clothes, how you guys carried yourselves, interacted with each other, your high fives – so that they didn't feel an anachronistic, and that it all totally of that time. How hard did you guys work and how hard did the director work to keep the honesty of the era alive?

"We’d be doing a table read and anything that was out of the time period, he'd always just catch it quick, right there..."

J. Quinton Johnson: We’d be doing a table read and anything that was out of the time period, he'd always just catch it quick, right there, so that it's almost like this negative reinforcement. And you slowly but surely start weeding it out of your discourse with the other guys. So that by the time you get ready to shoot, it's just not there. And if it happens to leak in, he'll yell from behind the monitor [chuckles] and you’d go again. He's just very particular and he's watching all of that kind of stuff. But it starts definitely long before the cameras ever roll and that's what makes it easier to maintain that authenticity on the camera.

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Glen Powell: He's a guy who cares about detail like nobody I've ever seen before, and that's why I think his films feel timeless. It doesn't feel like a guy going, "Oh, this would be funny if we did a movie like this at this time." He goes, "No, no, no." That's why that I feel like his films stand the test of time. You look back at Dazed and Confused and you're like, "Wasn't that movie made in like '93?" It feels like it could be made in any era. And I think he is one of the only filmmakers who can do that. Hopefully, we have the same lasting effect that Dazed does, but we're proud of this movie, and I think if we just get some eyeballs on it, because we love it.

HTF: Well, that's my intent because it was a terrific movie and after watching Linklater’s Boyhood, which was a near-perfect movie, I was wondering how he would continue his legacy of being one of the great American filmmakers of our day. And I think Everybody Wants Some!! is proof that he still got plenty of gas left in the tank. So congratulations, beautifully cast, beautifully performed. You guys were off the chain, so congratulations.

Glen Powell: Oh, thank you so much. Well, very, very nice meeting you and we understood everything, even with your accent. I thought it was great [chuckles].

HTF: Well, I work hard at that!

J. Quinton Johnson: [Laugher] Thanks Neil.

Glen Powell: [Laugher] Thanks!
 
Last edited:

bujaki

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Even with your accent! Got to love that! I so regret having missed this at the theater (theatre, if you'd rather), but your interview will force me to fill in that lacuna ASAP. And anybody who thinks of Boyhood as highly as I do, well, he's all right with me.
 

TravisR

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Good question and responses about the details in this movie. I'm too young to remember the era in real detail but it plays as utterly realistic and there aren't too many period pieces that do that.

As an aside, Glen Powell is so damn funny on Scream Queens.
 

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