Writer/director Richard Linklater’s latest Everybody Wants Some!! is at once a hangout film of bros and bonding and a philosophical examination of time and growing up. And akin to 1993’s iconic Dazed & Confused, to which Everybody Wants Some!! is being deemed a “spiritual sequel,” Linklater assembles a phenomenal ensemble cast of young talent who bring rich and diverse characters to life with ease.
Among this cast is Blake Jenner, who plays the main character, Jake, a freshman pitcher who arrives at his college campus baseball house to live with his wildly interesting teammates. Tyler Hoechlin plays senior hotshot, McReynolds, while Will Brittain plays another freshman pitcher, Billy Autrey.
The trio spoke to Sound & Picture on a variety of topics—from Linklater, as a person and as a filmmaker, as well as building a community on set, relocating bees, and, of course, mustaches.
First off, how did you get involved with this? Was it pitched to you as a “spiritual sequel?”
Blake Jenner:When I got the audition it just said “Untitled Linklater Baseball Comedy,” so I knew nothing about it. I just knew some intel that my managers had gotten, saying, “Oh, we think this is a sequel to Dazed, or something like that.” But it was very vague at first. We didn’t even get to read the script until about two or three auditions in.
Will Brittain: And before even getting to that place, we had to submit a baseball skills tape, so I guess they could know we were actually good enough to play baseball before we read the script.
Did you go for certain characters when you got that initial audition?
WB: We read the script and they asked us to submit roles that we personally felt we would like to read for. That was one audition. The callback audition they handpicked a few of those roles—say, we submitted five and they picked three—and we read for those.
And once these characters are cast and you’re on set, what was the development process like? Every character is just so unique in their personalities. Was this organic or did Linklater have these descriptions pretty set in the script?
Tyler Hoechlin:There wasn’t much description of the characters in the script, it was really more about the feel. Just finding the character and then feeling it out a little more, and the dialogue would change a little bit…
WB: …And the moustache would change a little bit. This guy has got a waxed curl to his moustache and then, shaving, all of a sudden you became a different person. So many different things informed the character.
TH: [Linklater] told us, “These are the guys and they’ve been written this way, but I am giving you this character and I want you to bring what you want to bring to it. We’ll find it together as a group.”
WB: And I didn’t have much baseball experience—unlike Tyler, who did—so the position you played on the field also informed the kind of the personality you had. And the guys who were more experienced in baseball helped us to really inform what type of guy we would be based on this. Like, I was a closer, so I was told I’d usually be pretty intense if that were the case.
How did that mindset transfer to the acting community on set?
BJ:We brought experience, not just in acting. You grew up with people like your character or played with people like your character, and I kind of felt like my character in certain ways. I think everybody brought what they experienced and knew to the table, and then balanced off each other and talked to one another, workshopping the script with Rick [Linklater], and then just by ourselves. If anything, this whole experience just taught me that collaboration is totally the way to go.
TH: For sure, especially the acting community part of it. You work with people and you see something they do, and maybe the director doesn’t see it, but you catch it and think it might be interesting. This was the most generous group of guys I’ve ever worked with in terms of taking advice and giving advice. Everybody was open to everything.
WB: Nobody had an ego.
TH: There was zero ego. So, you always felt welcome to give someone advice because you knew everybody was open to receiving it. We all wanted to find everything that we could try and play with. If you had an idea, you could spin it to another guy and be like, “Hey, there was something you did the other day that was really interesting, and I think if you mixed that with this, it could be really cool. I’m just throwing that out there.” And they would be, “For sure! For sure!” and they would go play with it and find it. It was such an amazing collaborative group and it was a team. We really treated it like a baseball season. In the end, you want to be the champs. You want it to be as good of a season as it could be, and that meant helping each other and looking out for each other and working together.
WB: No bullshit. He’s just a really great guy who is supportive of you as an artist and as a person. And surprisingly very unintimidating. Just laid back and makes you feel like you’ve already got it. So when he does give you a note, it’s more of a thought than anything.
BJ: You’re kind of intimidated by how not intimidating he is. He’s so chill, you’re like…”Fuck.”
WB: Is there something I’m doing wrong?
BJ: He’s so chill. Is this just a disguise? Is this the calm before the storm? He can’t be this chill of a dude.
WB: He just says something and you’re like…
BJ: Wait, what does that mean? This dude made Waking Life, this has to have some different meaning. Him saying “Hello” has to be, like, the secret to life.
BJ: Hello? Oh…Hello!
WB: What is Hello? Oh…shit.
BJ: What is that?
WB: How is that?
BJ: Why is that? WHEN IS THAT?
WB: Where exactly is “Hello?”
BJ: Yeah, Rick is just…that.
He’s definitely philosophical. He’s very into the concept of time, and “the moment.”
BJ: He does that in all of his films, really. There’s this one scene in Waking Life where Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are lying in bed and they’re just talking about life. And that movie is, like, the philosophical movie of philosophical movies and still, he does it in such a chill way that you’re just along for the ride. And with this movie, it’s totally a bro movie—it’s got that Animal House-esque kind of feel—but he still sneaks in the philosophical stuff and the perspectives on life. And it always works. He’s the king of that.
TH: I love how in Boyhood, by the end of it, I realized, “Oh, yeah, you don’t have to have a crazy car accident in the middle of a movie to realize that somebody’s life changed.”
BJ: And you’re still so touched. You really feel something.
TH: I just realized I had learned to come to expect in movies that something big has to happen. They’re in the car so there has to be a car accident now that completely changes his life. It’s just the little things, though, like that conversation he comes home to and his mom’s boyfriend has a really weird talk with him. And it just rubs him the wrong way. Oh yeah, those moments change you and make you have a certain thought for the first time. I love that…the subtlety of just life.
Speaking of moments, what was your favorite?
TH:The whole experience just kind of blends together. I don’t think there was any day where I was like, “Ah, today wasn’t a great day.” Every single day was a great day.
WB: There was never any day on set, like…”Alright…here we go.”
BJ: “This is a job…”
WB: It was more, like, “Oh, are we finished?”
BJ: “That sucks…”
WB: “What are you guys doing now? Let’s go hang out. Where we going?” I would honestly show up to set three or four hours early just to watch other guys shoot their scenes.
TH: Honestly, they could’ve put us all up at the Amityville house and we would’ve been fine.
BJ: It would’ve been like we were staying in our actual rooms in the film.
WB: Oh, 100%. If there hadn’t been an insect infestation in that house…
The house in the film?
WB: Yeah, they had to relocate—and this is just another truth to how fucking great of a dude Rick is—instead of just smoking them out, they relocated close to, like, 100,000 bees that were living in the walls of one of the bedrooms in the house.
BJ: He could’ve just killed them.
WB: Or smoked them out, yeah.
BJ: Pretty cool.
Tyler, I feel like you will be able to answer this better than the others, but…facial hair and costumes, how did you feel about it?
TH:I was sad when it was over, man! Not gonna lie.
BJ: And your passport photo is the ‘stache!
TH: Yeah, I had to renew my passport while we were shooting, so for the next ten years I still have the McReynolds mustache in my passport photo. But it was fun, man, just kind of going back to the days where it was like…guys didn’t really care if you were wearing short shorts and a tank top just to chill. I think we all thought it was funny when we first showed up but then we all kind of dug it by the end.
(Blake shaking his head)
Well, not all of us.
BJ: I didn’t like the short shorts. I was happy when I wasn’t wearing them.
TH: I was hoping when we walked back into the real world, people were embracing the short shorts again.
BJ: And I was like, “Yes, yes! Everybody’s in pants and jeans.”
What is the “Some?”
WB:Everybody wants some of that feeling you get when you’re hanging with your best friends, man. That’s what it’s all about.
BJ: I feel like everybody wants to get lost in the moment. That’s what this movie does for the audience.
TH: To me, it’s just that feeling of just going off to college, where these guys are, and you want. That’s what happens in college, you want. You want the world and you think you can have it. You’re at that point in your life where you can go in any direction and it’s just that wanting. You want more. You want what’s next. You want to get to that point. It’s just that—wanting some of the world and getting a piece of it for themselves.
Watch the trailer: