Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston may co-star in ‘Last Detail’ sequel for Linklater

Richard Linklater has long since earned my eternal loyalty as an audience member. I may not love every film he makes, but I know that when he sets out to make a movie, there”s going to be some reason, some idea, some element of the story that Linklater couldn”t resist. He has such an interesting relationship to time in his films, and he is far more motivated by character than he is by plot, which I like.

Like many filmmakers his age, he”s had a long and public interest in the films and filmmakers of the ’70s. When Darryl Ponsican published a sequel to The Last Detail as a novel, Linklater was immediately attached, and he was going to make the film with Jack Nicholson and Randy Quaid both reprising their roles from the original. That was huge news at the time, and I remember how exciting a prospect that was. I love Hal Ashby”s original film, and the description of Ponsican”s sequel novel Last Flag Flying makes it sound like a solid foundation for a movie a full 23 years later.

There”s been no public word about Linklater”s film since those first announcements a decade ago, and I”d forgotten about it completely. Now word comes of casting for the film, and it sounds like Linklater is finally making the film for Amazon Studios with Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne stepping in for Nicholson, Quaid, and Otis Young.

In the 1973 film, Randy Quaid played a young navy recruit who had been busted for something, and two Naval petty officers (Nicholson and Young) have to pick him up and transport him to prison, where he”s going to spend a lot of years locked in a dark hole. They make some detours along the way to give Quaid a chance to sample life, and it”s a great dark funny trip of a movie. In this new film, the one-time prisoner reaches out to the two petty officers to ask them for help in getting the body of his son, killed in service in Iraq, shipped home for burial. Grim stuff, but there”s real potential there.

They”re talking about shooting in November, so this must be close to ready. It”s a nice surprise when something fell off the radar for long enough to forget about it completely, only to surface again as something that”s actually going to happen. Here”s hoping we”re seeing this film by this time next year, because it sounds like it could be great.

Meanwhile, Linklater”s Everybody Wants Some is on-demand and on DVD and Blu-ray now.