The first thing anyone will notice about Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! is…let’s call them The Guys. Specifically the chemistry between The Guys. From the first minutes of Linklater’s new party film, you can tell that the natural rapport between the actors is as genuine as they come. The various relationship dynamics and minor interpersonal conflicts feel natural instead of contrived, and it’s easy to surmise the film’s endless groove rests on the shoulders of these young actors.
Uproxx spoke to three of the stars of Everybody Wants Some!!: Blake Jenner, who plays main character Jake; Will Brittain, who plays Billy Autrey, the one ballplayer in a committed long-distance relationship; and Tyler Hoechlin, who plays the gruff, tough-minded hitter Glen McReynolds. Playful and loose, the three stars spoke positively about working with Linklater, the collaborative atmosphere of the set, the thin line between athlete and actor, and much more.
One of the most immediate things that comes through in the movie is the chemistry between all of the guys. I was wondering how that was cultivated on the set? Was Linklater involved in bringing you guys together or was a more of a natural thing?
Blake Jenner: [Linklater] was the reason why we all got so close. We could have easily been living at separate spots as people do on shoots, but he had us live with him on his farm, and we got to spend a lot of late nights with each other, running through the script, both with him and then just by ourselves, kinda poking fun at certain characters, trying to see what sticks, going off the page with him, getting the greatest hits, incorporating those into the script, but living together I think was…we did baseball, we did the dance rehearsals, and we could have done all of that individually, but I think the main reason why the brotherhood reads so well was because we got to live together. We lived what we do in the movie. We’re not faking any of that.
Will Brittain: Straight up. We slept in bunks right next to each other, and fucked with each other while…sorry.
No, no, swear all you want.
Brittain: Cut that out. Messed with each other while we were sleeping. You know, uh, dammit…
Brittain: Move on…
Tyler Hoechlin: No, that was Rick’s doing completely, setting that tone and having us out there ahead of time. I think that was the most invaluable thing in the whole process. There were a lot of great things just kind of, you know, discovering each other’s personalities as we are, but then also seeing each other as those characters for that much time during the rehearsal process. You know, inside jokes we kinda form, things like that, so it really took everything to a new level. You know characters that didn’t actually really in the original script interact as much, we would actually see those kind of personalities together are actually kinda funny, and we would kind of jump off of that and play with that a little bit more.
Brittain: That’s a new thing that hasn’t been brought up yet.
Hoechlin: Because McReynolds [Hoechlin’s character] and Nesbit [played by Austin Amelio] really never had any interactions in the original script.
Brittain: It was fun putting them together.
Hoechlin: I just remembered as a hitter, you know, leftie pitchers are always the weirdest people in baseball. They just are. It’s so consistent, and so I kinda had this thing with Rick where I was like, “You know, I’m a leftie hitter. I’d probably hate this guy.” He’s probably this crazy leftie who just throws soft stuff and I can’t stand him probably, and so that kind of grew into a thing, and that’s all due to Rick having us out there for that time.
For Dazed and Confused, Linklater sent mixtapes of ’70s music to the cast before they got down to Austin. Did he do something similar this time around? How did you guys prepare for your specific characters? Did [Linklater] instruct you or did you find it on your own in the rehearsal process?
Brittain: Well, I’m glad you told us that because he sent us music as well, and I can see now that he has no creativity with his actors.
Brittain: No, he sent us the music, and I know for myself, I picked out a little playlist of music I thought my character would listen to, like a bunch of ZZ Top. You know, I think we all brought it. We did our work and then Rick made sure our work was really accurate and really specific.
Hoechlin: It’s funny, the words “he told you” or “instructed”…
It’s a lot looser…
Hoechlin: Yeah! It’s so encouraging and collaborative, you know, you really sort of discover these things together. One of the things Rick told us in the beginning was, “We’re gonna take this script and we’re gonna tear it apart and put it back together as a team and find out who these guys are.” That was such an incredible thing to do. But the music was another kind of aspect to that. [Rick] was like, “Here’s all the music that was popular in that time, and like, what do you think your guy would listen to?” It encourages you to start finding things about this person.
Jenner: What was really cool, with all of that taken into consideration, was, you know with disco, you kinda had free reign to go with how you feel, so we kind of got to discover. You know, for the baseball guys, we’re trying to go out and get girls and be cool, but when you’re watching the movie, you can kind of see every dude’s personality within his moves. We got to treat that like an interpretive dance within the disco life.
I get that when you guys go to the punk club, and Coma [played by Forrest Vickery] is the one who’s just like on the outside.
Jenner: Yeah! You totally feel it. He’s the one drinking water!
Brittain: Coma is a trip in that scene, dude. Lookin’ just like a narc, man.
Hoechlin: Talking about disco, though, I swear the one thing that makes me laugh every time is [Ryan] Guzman, the guy who plays [Kenny] Roeper, and he does the little cat thing. [Hoechlin mimes a little playful cat dance.] It’s so great.
Another thing that’s interesting about the film is how it captures team sports as a unit, but also a unit full of individual personalities. Tyler, I know you have a baseball background, but I was wondering if [Blake or Will] played sports when you were younger and was it easy to slip into that or was it a bit of a challenge to get into the mentality of being on a team?
Jenner: Well, I grew up playing football and then I did wrestling in high school, which is kind of a different spot of the mind competitively in sports, and uh, I played basketball a bunch with my friends and I played it growing up as well. So, I’m not like [Laughs], you know he [pointing at Tyler] is the closest thing to a pro out of all of us.
Brittain: Yeah, he probably could have gone pro.
Jenner: Oh, he totally could have. But I remember that whole sense of brotherhood, like scoring a touchdown and everybody coming together, and being so fuckin stoked, but I had never played baseball in my life, so thankfully we got to work with fine coaches in Austin. But I think all of us kinda knew what it was like being on a team of some sort, even just growing up doing school plays. It’s the same mentality. We’re there to service each other.
Brittain: We all played sports. I don’t think there was a guy [on set] that didn’t play sports on some level. Everybody played something. And Rick, you know, is a really good athlete. I’m not just saying that to be nice. He’s a good athlete like at everything. He’s one of those guys who’s annoyingly pretty good at everything. It really wasn’t hard for us to get into the persona of being an athlete.
I think what really came through in the movie if anything is Linklater is a kind of philosophical jock, just with the idea that these guys who are using their bodies all the time also have something in their heads.
Brittain: I love that Blake has that scene where he gets to be kinda sassy [with Zoey Deutch’s character Beverly] when she’s surprised that he’s a jock. Because we all grew up playing sports and also considering ourselves artists. I can say for myself I always got annoyed with people being like, “You’re just a jock.”
Jenner: Like, in high school when I was wrestling but also have theater rehearsals, it was kind of like battle against the worlds because rehearsal and practice were at the same time. So you kinda had to pick and choose, and I would often choose theater, but then the wrestling side was like, “Oh you’re not spending enough time here. Do you even want to be here?” And theater is like, “We need you here. We need to map this out.”
Hoechlin: I had to change my major in college when I transferred schools. I was a film major at ASU, but then I transferred to UC Irvine, and my coach called me during summer ball and was like, “Hey, all the film classes are during practice hours, so you need to…You can’t major in film here.” I was like, “Okay, guess I’m switching.”
Brittain (sarcastically): You can see how much he committed to acting because he dropped film like [snaps fingers] that.
Hoechlin: I was working! I was working!
You know with this film, on the surface it’s about a bunch of guys who are trying to get laid, but then beneath that, it’s about how people who are put into a box are forced to adapt in different environments and situations. It’s like how these guys are comfortable on a baseball team, but also how they meld into a country bar and a disco club. How was that emphasized on set? Was it all just a party or was [Linklater] like, “Let’s take a step back and figure this out.”
Hoechlin: I don’t think it was all just a party. I think that was obviously the environment that [Linklater] was creating because it is those couple days leading up to the first day of school, which is why I really do like that it ends with that practice and actually going to class that day because you do see that these guys are here for a purpose, there’s a reason why they’re here.
Brittain: They’re not all gonna drop out in a week.
Hoechlin: Yeah! But there’s a lot of great moments that are just life moments. [The getting laid] is a very surface thing, especially for guys going into college, it’s like, that’s what they’re all about. But you know, there’s also things that every person who goes off to school, you know, once you get there, you start thinking, “Okay, I’m not with mom and dad anymore, and I’m not with all my friends that I grew up with, I’m with new people, and like, who am I?” Now it’s just me, not me and a group I had, just me on my own, and like, who am I and what am I gonna be? And I think that’s a theme that’s touched on a couple of times that’s a really important one.
Jenner: I think we can all agree that a situation like working with Rick is kinda like a moment in your life when you get that call and you know you’re gonna do it, you’re like, “Wow I got the part” and “Oh, shit, now I have to do this.”
Brittain: Right, this is it.
Jenner: You get thrown into a situation like this, like, yeah you’re doing the script, but I really do think all of us were so committed to the relationships we had formed with each other and to, like, working on the script with Rick and everything that we were practicing, like dance rehearsals and baseball, that everything you’re seeing in the movie, we’re pretty much…I mean, I don’t think it’s acting. I think we’re all just really experiencing it within the lines of respecting our characters.
Brittain: Which is probably the best definition of acting you can give, just experiencing the people you’re with through the point of view of another person. If anything, Rick taught me how naturally and organically that can happen and how fun it can be.
Jenner: I think this film with everything it discusses, the lesson that it teaches is to really live in the now and soak up the good times, and I think we all did that in spades during this, and I think that’s something we’ll take into our lives from here on out.