If Richard Linklater did not exist, I would never have thought his fame would be possible. Here's a director who has found mainstream success in intellectual thought and aimlessness -- not something Hollywood usually takes kindly to.
Slacker earned raves, cult status, and inspired Kevin Smith to create Clerks. Dazed and Confused followed, quickly becoming one of the quintessential high school flicks, merging stoner simplicity with political and social discussion. Before Sunrise charmed audiences with romantic discussion, The Newton Boys revealed interests reaching beyond modern day, Waking Life took on rotoscoping to discuss philosophy, Before Sunset quickly became a widely loved talk-centric romance, then fast food and Philip K. Dick fare, and now time with Orson Welles. (Not to mention those penned by others, like the one-room drama Tape.)
Yet the guy can't catch a flipping break.
While taking on the press to promote the soon-to-be-released Me and Orson Welles (which took over a year to make its way to us), Linklater revealed just how many problems he's had getting new films made. We learned over the summer that his much buzzed-about script That's What I'm Talking About got shelved, and in a talk with Collider, the director discussed that while he got the cost down to $13-14 million, had an equity partner in place, and thinks "it's the funniest thing I ever wrote," no one would distribute it. We're not talking about his heavier intellectual fare, but an all-out comedy, one Linklater compares to The Hangover, as well as his retro hit Dazed and Confused.
And then there's that romcom he grabbed soon after -- Liars (A-E). That project is also dead in the water, as he's told Movieline that it is no longer happening, while telling both sites that the School of Rock sequel project has gone no farther than casual discussion and Mike White working on the script "a long time ago."
As Linklater describes it: "we're in a no culture right now in the film industry." I get that. Times are tough. Money is tight. Studios are folding. Moderately successful intellectual fare won't wow the minds of Hollywood and rake in the cash. But that's no reason to fear his "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused. In light of The Hangover's success, how can they not feel secure enough to distribute That's What I'm Talking About?
I can't help but wonder if he should just start coupling projects and swear another Jesse and Celine sequel to be made only if someone gets off their arses and gives him room to create. Then again, if all-out laughs aren't enough to get him distribution love, would romance fare any better?
Note: Me and Orson Welles comes out soon. Please go see it so that we can drum up some fan support for the guy. A'ight?