Directed by Richard Linklater (of Before Sunrise fame), the movie was filmed over a period of 12 years—beginning when the lead actor, Ellar Coltrane, was six years old and continuing until he was 18. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents, and the cast met for a few days in Texas every year. The story is, simply, about a boy growing up. “Time is actually the lead character in the film,” Linklater said.
From the New York Times Magazine:
The project was a leap of faith in almost every sense—for starters, Coltrane (and his parents) was under no obligation to Linklater to return each year and continue the film. “You wouldn’t contract anyone to do something like this for 12 years, much less a 6-year-old,” Linklater says. “My hope was that his parents and him would see this as a positive thing in his life and a fun thing to be involved in every year.” Linklater’s other gamble was that the dreamy, artistic temperament he saw in Coltrane as a child would mature into the smart skepticism and quiet charisma we witness in young-adult Mason. That, in other words, the kid wouldn’t grow up into a dud.
From the New York Times review:
“Let’s face it, we bet the farm on the cumulative effect of identification, on the idea that you would care about this family and be invested in them, not because their dog died, or some fake plotty thing,” [Linklater] said. “Execs are like: ‘Why should we care about this guy? Let’s give him a flaw.’ No. You like him because you’re familiar with him. Why do you like your friends? Because you know them.”
P.S. On having a boy.
(Photos via the New York Times)