In Everybody Wants Some!! — director Richard Linklater’s self-proclaimed “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused – Glen Powell plays Finnegan, one of those types of characters you can’t help but think is impossibly cool. So cool, the first reaction is, “I want to be friends with this person.” And not the Fonzie definition of cool, but more, “this guy is nice, he knows what he’s doing, and I want to be part of that … and he has a cool mustache.”
Everybody Wants Some!! is set in 1980 at a fictional Texas college during that magical time three days before classes start. We follow the exploits of the members of the men’s baseball team … and that’s pretty much it: dudes hanging out. And, under the guide of Richard Linklater, it’s glorious and truly is the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused.
Ahead, Powell (who many are dubbing the breakout star from the film, with which I agree) discusses the intricacies (or, maybe, lack of intricacies?) of this new film he’s obviously extremely proud of, which, he hopes, works as a sort of palate cleanser to all the superhero movies of late. And he shares a tip he learned on the set of The Expendables 3: That it’s not a great idea to talk to Harrison Ford about Han Solo.
Plot is overrated.
You know, that’s how we feel, too. And the fun part of making this movie, sometimes as an actor you feel, “Am I just a cog in the plot wheel here?” Or, “Do I get to chew on something here and have a good time with it?” With every character in this movie, it’s crazy how every character pops and is so rich with that kind of flavor. You don’t care it’s not loaded up with, “Okay, now we’re moving this thing forward.” Nobody cares because you’re having such a good time.
I made a weird comparison to the first act of Weekend at Bernie’s, because people forget it’s just Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman hanging out in New York. Then the plot starts.
This is also a weird comparison, but As Good As It Gets — the little things that Jack Nicholson does in terms of the growth of his character, like switch seats or complimenting somebody, they feel like monumental moments because you’ve gotten to know his character so well. When he grows, the audience goes, “Oh my God, that’s huge!” And it’s not like something big has to happen on the outside or something monumental has to change in the world. I feel like people are exhausted with the idea, like in these superhero movies, you’re over-stimulated with digital effects…
There’s one out right now that fits that description.
[Laughs] Exactly. We don’t have to name any names.
But that could be good for Everybody Wants Some!!
And, by the way, we’re not saying we’re counterprogramming to that, but I think this movie is a real breath of fresh air for people who have been bogged down with the same flavor and the same tone for the past few years. I think this is a movie that’s truly original.
It’s a weird experience watching the first ten minutes of this movie. Because I know I’ll see this movie so many more times, but right now they are all strangers and I know they will soon be “characters I know very well.”
For the most part, we didn’t really meet each other until we got down to Austin and we were cast. And the fact the chemistry doesn’t feel contrived at all, that we actually got down there and loved each other immediately? Actors can be selfish people because you’re all fighting for screen time and all that stuff – in this one, everybody’s passing the buck. Someone would say, “No, no, my character wouldn’t say that, this character would say this.” We were pitching ideas for other characters to Rick. It was a selfless group project.
This is set in 1980, but captures college life pretty well. At least the state school experience.
It’s so fun getting to watch my dad and my uncle watch … style, culture, music and maybe the handshakes and dance movies have changed, but the people haven’t.
People were still listening to “My Sharona” in the ‘90s.
And it’s so much fun watching people get stoked about the soundtrack.
Once I heard “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, I knew it was going for it…
But Everybody Wants Some!! avoids the trope of just making a ton of ’80s references, regardless what year of the ‘80s it happened in – because nobody talked like that.
Look, things permeate into your language when you live there, but otherwise it’s going to feel like a current event reel – like some elongated newsreel if we’re talking about the Iran hostage crisis all the time.
If that scene existed, that would be a very dour moment.
It’s so funny because part of the classroom Rick introduced us to, it was a boot camp on what was going on in the world and what was going on in politics because it’s important to kind of know the tone of the movie we’re going for. And for the creative process, because who knows? If we were to talk about the Iran hostage crisis, if something creative came from that? And Rick is really about knowing your characters, knowing the time period, knowing the music, the clothes, what everyone is going through in terms of the youth and the elderly. Really, what you come to realize is nothing’s really changed. And look, we’re kind of in the same mess over there that we were in back then. And nothing’s changed even in politics.
Is it weird knowing you’ll be answering questions about this movie for the next 20 years? McConaughey is still out there doing the, “alright, alright, alright” line.
[Laughs] Totally, totally.
That’s you in 20 years. You’ll be up for some prestigious award and people will be asking you to quote Everybody Wants Some!!
You know what? Your mouth to God’s ear. I have to say, talking to you about this movie gives me such joy. And you know, there are a lot of movies people make that they’re famous for and are known for and they had a terrible time making it. I truly had the best time of my entire life making this movie and I’m not sure it will get any better. I think it’s so damn special. If people are telling me about this movie in 20 years, I’ll still be smiling.
I’ve had that happen, when I’ve asked about an old movie and was told, “I don’t want to talk about it, it was a bad experience.”
[Laughs] Yeah, exactly! I mean, I see that all the time. I worked with Sylvester Stallone and all those guys on The Expendables 3. And a lot of their most famous movies, some of these icons, they are really bad experiences for them – they turn out to be great, fun movies that people cherish and love and quote.
Harrison Ford is in The Expendables 3 and, until recently, if you brought up Han Solo, you’d probably get an eye roll.
Oh, yeah. Actually when I worked with Harrison, he was really cool. But, I learned very, very quickly: Do not bring up Indiana Jones or Han Solo, he will walk away so quickly.
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.