This interview has been edited for print purposes.
As Everybody Wants Some!! continues to roll out in theaters nationwide, take a look below at the round-table interview TYF took part of with stars Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin and Will Brittain. Check out below to see their thoughts on working with Richard Linklater, baseball and what it means to be a classic sports film.
Q: Are you ready to be apart of the Richard Linklater cult? Linklater is known for finding up and comers was that something you were thinking about when you got cast?
TH: Even if it had just been that one experience I think this movie changed my perspective on a lot of things just in far of what you really enjoy doing the most as an actor and being on a set and being a part of a great group of collaborators…it became such a bright spot in the list of things that I’ve done…working on a film that you’re passionate about and being able to do press for a movie that you’re really actually proud of. It’s a great thing.
It’s such a great group to be a part of a film like that it’s a really cool, special thing.
BJ: The amount of things you learn from an experience like that not just from these guys (Tyler Hoechlin & Will…) but also from Rick (Linklater)…if you just really watch him and his way of going about the whole rehearsal process and shooting things…we’ve said a million times that if we get the chance to direct something, especially something we get to write we’re definitely copying him.
Q: Did you ever think you would get to a place in your career where you’d be working with Richard Linklater?
BJ: From going from first moving out to L.A. and working at Burger King to auditioning for Best Buy commercials that you get cut out of it’s pretty incredible to get to a place to be sitting on a couch with these guys.Even just working with these guys alone, you never think you’re going to work with such an awesome group of people but then you add Rick to the mix and it’s kind of dream. It sounds cheesy but it’s a dream come true.
WB: It’s a myth really to be able to work with directors like that.
BJ: You hope, you know but you have no expectations.
WB: For me, growing up in Texas it was like Richard Linklater is “the guy”.
BJ: He’s the unsolicited mayor.
WB: You look at Matthew McConaughey and any actor from Texas that’s male and reasonably athletic looks at McConaughey thinks “If only someone found me I could be the next McConaughey.” And then you get a call saying you’ve got a film from Richard Linklater…
Q: What do you think the movie, at it’s core, is really about?
TH: I think it’s not being afraid to be who you are…to me that’s the theme that always hits me the hardest.
BJ: Yeah, same as him. Life is always much, much more fun and you feel like you get more of out it when you’re not just, you know, watching yourself and monitoring what you’re saying or being or where you want to fit in so that’s definitely a theme. I also think that, there’s two things I always say and I could be completely wrong but it’s just so timeless and it shows that all the external things change. Clothes change, music changes, all that changes but growing up and finding out what you love and finding out who you are and having a good time with your friends…that never changes.
Also, I always say because I have my times where I’m focused about the future or something they regret from the past and with this movie what really is cool is that there isn’t such a huge plot, there isn’t a car crash, coming down a waterfall and there’s mermaids that are going to catch him and make out with the dudes in the car you know…it’s a slice of life where you just can’t help but be there with the guys and it’s a testament to how important it is to live in the now.
Q: Did it ever get competitive on set?
WB: We were really competitive about our pants and how tight and how short we could get our pants and eventually Tyler just cut off the bottom half to all of his shirts.
Q: How was the overall atmosphere on set?
TH: it’s what you see in the movie…We felt like the hard work, if you can really call it hard work because it was so much fun, was done in the rehearsal process when we spent a couple week with Rick at his property. You know we stayed in a bunk house so every morning it was breakfast together, then we’d do rehearsals for dance, practice for baseball, we’d do a read through of the script. Some days we’d stick closer to the script and others we’d throw out ideas and thoughts…and we played with that for so long that by the time we actually started shooting we kind of felt like we’d already made the movie. We’d done the scenes enough and we knew what our “greatest hits” were so at that point it was just having everyone else show up and give us the clothes, do the hair and actually having cameras set up to capture it so on set it was just fun.
WB: Literally we partied every night.
Q: Every character is very distinct and brings their own voice to the film, was that something that was in the script from the very beginning or something that was discovered over time.
WB: Absolutely the latter and that’s a tribute to everybody. Not just to the guys who didn’t have that many lines which were many, because there were probably only four or five characters that were bigger characters but also an attribute to those guys who were the bigger characters who were wise enough and generous enough to realize that there lines would be better served if someone else said them or there was a moment that would be better served if someone else was included in it which really speaks to the humility of everybody who was involved.
BJ: And everyone understood that when a line was given to somebody else or when something was cut down…you know all the screen-time and lines were distributed equally and everybody was there for each other. There’s not one person who in the whole rehearsal process was like “that’s mine, I want that.”
TH: Coming from playing baseball I can always equate it throwing a baseball…it was kind of like everyone wanted to be the role player. No one wanted to be the guy who came up and hit the home-run everyone was happy to put down the sacrifice bunt.
BJ: It was satisfying to help someone else shine.
Q: Did anyone of you play sports in high school or college. Did any of you have a similar experience to what happens to the characters in the movie?
TH: I played baseball through college so yeah, this was kind of like going back to the glory days. And having a bit more fun with it than I did in college. I was the very focused athlete. I would party on my one party day that I had but I was also like if I wasn’t in class I was in the batting cage. This was time for me to do that but with a little more fun.
WB: I was a pretty good football player in high-school and a pretty good track athlete but I was a terrible baseball player so I stopped playing around 14 and so it was nice to come back in and play baseball but also, it was nice to be taught baseball by guys like Tyler and Juston Street….all these guys who were really good ball players and to get coached up by these guys who really knew what they were doing was nice, cause some of these guys could have played pro-ball, Street did and Tyler could have.
TH: I’d say baseball is one of the hardest sports to fake in film and TV and I think they all [the cast] did a really good job.
Q: What were the challenges and rewards of working with a director who values realism.
BJ: It was kind of crazy not breaking into song for me…I think the biggest different for me though was the times aspect of it all. Rick gave us so much time and you never get that, you never get two and a half weeks to rehearse and chill with the cast and get to know everybody and become a family before diving into the whole thing. Especially with Glee and having to dance, sing and act sometimes, more than often, on the same day was juggling those three things. You didn’t have to think on your toes as much and that was refreshing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I definitely elect to get to know the cast, get to collaborate like crazy and laugh, sleep in a cabin together.
Q: How long did it take for you to learn how to play baseball?
WB: Blake and I just focused on specific skills. All I knew was that all that I had to do was pitch from the stretch…I played baseball but I was never a pitcher so I knew all I had to do was pitch from the stretch like an 80’s pitcher would. So we watched some video and he [Linklater] gave us the freedom to kind of make up our own routine…Blake and I we just worked form.
BJ: We definitely incorporated our own style into it. I was doing it from the wind up position. Even when I was doing research of guys doing the wind up back then and even now they’re taking these deep breaths and I was kind of using that as a footnote technique because in the script he was kind of talking to himself at the mound so I was like, why don’t I just get in my own zone.
Q: The film is classic coming of age and it’s a classic sports movie. How do you describe that to someone?
TH: Hopefully people will do see it and eventually will be like oh it’s a like a Everybody Wants Some!! movie. We don’t ave to worry about it. We’re setting the stage and setting the tone for the next person who wants to do a film where it’s just getting to know 13 characters for two hours.
BJ: I wish it was cool to just say “just go see the movie” because it’s brilliant.
TH: For me, sports is such a metaphor for life in so many ways. So, for me, I think traditionally when you say it’s a sports movie, a lot of times, for a fan of any game, you think sports movie and you think there’s going to be a quest for a championship and they’re either going to make it, or they’re not. And that’s kind of become the definition of a sports film…and it’s not what it’s about . It’s about the challenges you face, it’s how you work through those challenges it’s how you deal with people on a team and those dynamics between the characters and teammates. Those are the things that translate far after you’re done playing the game. You take that into your workplace and into your everyday life. So, this was going to be one of my favorite movies just because Rick focused on that and I find it far more interesting to see the dynamics between the characters and how they relate to each other…that’s so much more fascinating than the game, anyone can watch a game. Watch football on Sunday, watch baseball in October like that’s dramatic but watching it scripted, you’re playing it out and you already know what’s going to happen.
Everybody Wants Some!! is out in theaters now.