Exclusive: Richard Linklater on THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, His Spiritual Sequel to DAZED AND CONFUSED

     November 16, 2009

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One of my favorite movies is director Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.  While many filmmakers try and make moments feel real, Dazed and Confused is like watching a documentary.  Everything feels like it’s really happening and nothing feels forced.  I think it’s one of the most accurate portrayals of high school ever made and I cannot recommend the film enough.

While Dazed didn’t exactly do well when it got released, it’s one of those films that’s consistently played on cable and always sold well on DVD.  It’s the kind of film any studio would want to have in its library.  So when Richard Linklater announced he was going to make That’s What I’m Talking About, a “spiritual sequel” to his 1993 film and it would take place on a college campus in the 80’s, I thought there would be a bidding war among studios wanting to build off the massive cult success of the original.  But there wasn’t, and a film that many of us were dying to see never got off the ground.

So earlier today when I sat down with Linklater to talk about his new film Me and Orson Welles, we discussed what happened to That’s What I’m Talking About and he told me a lot more about the film and what really happened.  The good news: it’s still a project he really wants to do and he has a plan to make it happen!  Watch what he had to say after the jump.  And Universal, if you’re reading this, make this film with Linklater and then you can package Dazed with this one!

richard_linklater.jpgWhile I strongly recommend watching the interview below, here are some of the highlights:

  • He got the budget of That’s What I’m Talking About down to 14 million.  He had the financing in place but due to a lack of distribution, the project fell apart.
  • When I asked him what it’s about, he told me, “I carefully called it a spiritual sequel to Dazed cause it’s not the same characters.  If Dazed was my High School, this is my college.  It’s about a weekend in college in that time period.  It’s funny…I think it’s the funniest thing I ever wrote.”
  • The next time he tries to get the film off the ground, he’s going to get actors attached, then try and get the money together.
  • Says he took one meeting with Jack Black about School of Rock 2 and everyone reported they were making the sequel.
  • Says a possible next project is a true crimes story that is also a black comedy.

Finally, what you’re about to watch is only part of my extended interview with Richard Linklater.  Look for a lot more from this great filmmaker over the next few days.

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  • I ask was he really going to make a Dazed and Confused type movie that took place in the 80’s?
  • Further in the interview he says it’s about young men behaving poorly.  Says it closer to The Hangover than anything else out there.  Says it’s about young guys really getting plowed with crazy behavior.
  • Says it’s a bad time to get films made right now but thinks he will be able to in the next few years.
  • Says the working title was That’s What I’m Talking About
  • I ask if it was the budget that did him in and he says he had it down to 14 million.  He even had financing but what did him in was no distribution!
  • I ask if he had cast attached – says he didn’t but the next time he takes a run at it he’ll try and get people attached
  • We talk about future projects and he tells a story about how he’d had one meeting with Jack Black about a School of Rock sequel and it was all over the trades.
  • I ask what he might do next and he says he has a few projects in development, one is a true crimes story that is also a black comedy. He also mentions That’s What I’m Talking About.

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