Embracing Your Inner Strange: “Everybody Wants Some!!” And Growing Up
Mary Hamula | 4/6/16 11:00pm
| Updated 4/6/16 11:01pm
American Word Magazine
Even if the name “Richard Linklater” doesn’t mean anything to you at first glance, there’s a large chance you’ve seen (and loved) one of his films. From “Dazed and Confused” and “School of Rock” to the recent award-winning film “Boyhood,” Linklater is truly an integral part of film history. In fact, his name drew many actors to his recently released movie, “Everybody Wants Some!!,” which is being called the “spiritual sequel” to his hit “Dazed and Confused.” One of the new film’s stars, Quinton Johnson, said, “It was just an untitled Richard Linklater project, and that was enough.”
The film’s name didn’t come about until much later. Actors Wyatt Russell and Glen Powell revealed that the name alternated between “Tell Me Something Good” and “That’s What I’m Talking About,” until the current title, taken from the Van Halen song of the same name, was chosen. “It was kind of a perfect tie in,” said Russell. Music has an important role in the film, so it made sense. “Rick gave us an iPod with like a hundred something songs on it that he was considering putting in the movie that we could listen to on the way to rehearsal, jog to it, sleep to it, whatever it is, just get the synapses firing to the tune of 1980” said Powell. Linklater even allowed some of the cast to suggest songs they felt best fit their scenes. Russell was approached about his song ideas for a scene in which his character and a few others are smoking out of a bong. “There’s a Pink Floyd song I love called Fearless,” he recalled, “I was like ‘oh man if we could be listening to that that would be cool’…And not even a day later, like 18 hours later, he was like ‘Okay we got that song’ and I was like what, that quickly?…And I was able to construct with Rick because of that song a scene that was informed by that song truly.”
Johnson, Russell and Powell all play members of the baseball team, each with very different personalities. Johnson’s character, Dale, is a freshman alongside the main character Jake Bradley, played by Blake Jenner, and was originally barely in the script on first draft, but had his part expanded as rewrites continued. Linklater encouraged each actor to define and shape their characters on their own. “He wrote this amazing letter that pretty much told us that he’d like us to bring ourselves to the character and do that,” said Russell, who plays an older teammate named Willoughby. Powell, whose character Finnegan was pretty “fleshed out” from the start, took the most joy out of watching other actors define their characters. He, Russell and Johnson all discussed memories of watching fellow cast members Forrest Vickerly, who plays Coma, and Austin Ameilio, who plays Nesbit, create intricate personalities for their characters that contain gambling problems and superstitions.
The film tells the story of freshman Jake Bradley’s first few days of college and his adjustment to playing college baseball, but it’s really about the fraternal bond between the team members. It’s a delicate yet fast coming of age tale, in which Jake struggles to define who he is. “Jake in the movie thinks that having an identity crisis is a bad thing,” Powell explained, “whereas I try to explain to him that that’s the essence of being in college, that’s the essence of being young.” In fact, one of the most poignant scenes is when Jake expresses concern over this identity crisis to Willoughby, who tells him to “embrace his inner strange” and “just be weird.” As Powell said, “The idea of sampling all those different identities is the essence of this movie and saying ‘don’t be afraid’ because if you know who you are too young.”
While most films created by Linklater are destined to be remembered in one way or another, Russell feels the most important part of the film for him was leaving with a new group of friends who are forever tied together because of the film. “When you win the Stanley Cup the only trophy that you get, everybody’s name on the team is etched on it, everybody’s on it, you’re forever linked together,” he said, “and I feel the same with this movie, forever we will be linked together. And that’s a pretty special thing.”
Watch the trailer for “Everybody Wants Some!!”, now in theatres, here.
All photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures