Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused hit theaters more than two decades ago, and has become one of the most iconic films in the director’s repertoire. Last month at the SXSW Film Festival, Linklater premiered his “spiritual sequel” to his 70s-themed classic, jumping forward into the year 1980 for Everybody Wants Some!!
The film takes place over a single weekend, following the members of an elite college baseball team as they prepare for the fall semester. Much like Dazed, the film features a huge ensemble of up-and-coming talents, and could serve as a major breakout for several of its cast members.
A few members of that ensemble stopped in Phoenix shortly after the film’s premiere, and we were fortunate enough to join a few other journalists for a chat with stars Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Forrest Vickery and Quinton Johnson.
This film takes place in 1980, and it’s dripping with nostalgia – but none of you were alive at that time. What was that experience like? Did any of it resonate with you at all?
Quinton Johnson: I was actually born in 1965.
Wyatt Russell: Man, you’ve aged well! [laughs]
Glen Powell: Black don’t crack! [laughs]
Quinton Johnson: I’ve actually got an endorsement from L’Oreal.
Wyatt Russell: Before they were even L’Oreal.
Quinton Johnson: Exactly. Look, Rick [Linklater] is like a time machine. He just took us back there – he’d be like “okay, this song was coming out in April, and it was playing on the radio three times a week.” And “we only wore these materials, those other materials didn’t come out until 1981.” He was just so smart about everything in that time period.
Glen Powell: And it’s still very much part of the culture. That time period, as far as music and clothes and art goes, it was a time where there was a lot of shifting. It was a changing of the guard, in a lot of ways, and that’s what Rick was trying to encapsulate. It was a really fun, exciting period, and I think that’s why Rick wants to revisit it, and why there’s so much nostalgia for the era. It was truly great.
One thing Rick does very well is capturing a sense of authenticity in the way his characters interact and relate to each other. How much of that stuff is present on the page, and how much comes from just being on the set and building that camaraderie?
Wyatt Russell: That was all fostered before – three weeks before – on Rick’s farm. We went out there and it was just us, and Rick, and a playground of creativity. He’s got this amazing library, and there’s like a mud hut, and he’s got this sort of spaceship Flintstones-looking house where one wing is a big game room. And that location fostered our relationship – he would be like “alright, now you’ve gotta go swimming, and now you’ve gotta play ping pong.” He was like a camp counselor, in a way, but after those first three or four days he just let [the relationships]organically happen. And the energy you feel between the moments is because of those days.
Glen Powell: I think the movie is fantastic, because you can feel the connection between all these guys. I think there’s a genuine love between all these guys, and that time we spent in Rick’s library – he’s probably one of the few guys that has a huge library and has read every single book in there. You can ask him anything – nothing with Rick is presentational, it’s authentic. We call him Rickipedia, because he knows every single aspect of 1980s culture.
Quinton, this was your first feature. What was it like having your first experience with someone like Rick?
Quinton Johnson: It was the best master class I think I could’ve taken. I was studying musical theater at UT two years prior to doing the film, and I think I was getting ready to take a film course that fall semester. And I’m glad I did this film instead of taking that film course.
That seems like it worked out.
Quinton Johnson: Yeah, but I wish I could’ve got some college credit. [laughs]
This film obviously has a lot to do with baseball, but you guys also did a lot of dancing. Was it more challenging to pick up the dance moves, or the baseball?
Wyatt Russell: The dance moves, for me. [laughs] You’ll notice you don’t see me dancing in the movie.
Quinton Johnson: You’ve got that one little move going in the club.
Wyatt Russell: Right. One move.
Glen Powell: It was good though, man. You nailed it. You only needed one move.
Forrest Vickery: We would go in every morning and do hours of baseball, then two hours of dance rehearsals. We’d have to do the Cotton-Eyed Joe, which I never picked up – I was horrible at it – two-stepping, which I was okay at, and then the Saturday Night Fever dance was something we all had to learn. It took us up until the last day to get it figured out.
How much fun was the Rapper’s Delight scene?
Glen Powell: You know, Rick talked about how that song has now become a joke – almost a parody of itself – but it was like the coolest song of the time.
Quinton Johnson: It’s also thirteen and a half minutes.
Glen Powell: Thirteen and a half minutes! But we were originally supposed to sing something like a Donna Summer song in the car, but on the list of songs in this iPod Rick gave us, we all loved Rapper’s Delight so much. And we all started singing it, and Rick was like “that would be great for the car scene. Learn thirteen and a half minutes, and we’ll figure out what we want to use.”
Glen Powell: We got maybe five minutes.
Quinton Johnson: My dad actually used to listen to it all the time when I was a kid, so when Rick was like “let’s start learning this thing” subconsciously there was so much of it still in my memory.
Glen Powell: You had it before anybody else had it.
Forrest Vickery: I remember the look in everybody’s eyes when Rick said to memorize it.
Glen Powell: I’m a realist. There was no way.
Everybody Wants Some!! premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. That’s basically Rick’s home turf, so how did that feel to be sitting in Austin, with that audience, screening a Richard Linklater film for the very first time?
Forrest Vickery: I don’t think it could have been a better situation. It was great to show it to all of the hometown fans.
Quinton Johnson: You can’t really fail in that market. We could’ve put anything up on the screen.
Glen Powell: Rick is like the Mayor of Austin. He’s an icon. I thought Dazed and Confused was kind of a love song to Austin, and I think Everybody Wants Some!! is filled with that Texas energy and Texas swagger. I think we made one hell of a movie, but I also think we made a movie that was very personal to us. Rick told us to take those moments and lock that experience in before we showed it to the world, and I think SXSW was a great validation of what we did. Because we finally go to show it to the world, and they were like “fuck yeah.”
This movie has been called the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused. Did that factor in to your approach at all?
Forrest Vickery: No, not really. It kind of has the same atmosphere, but besides that, I don’t think so.
Quinton Johnson: You’re aware of it.
Wyatt Russell: Yeah, but I don’t think I ever heard one person say anything about Dazed and Confused the entire time.
Glen Powell: Tonally, it’s very similar. If you liked Dazed and Confused you’re going to like this movie.
Everybody Wants Some!! expands into wide release this weekend.