Interview: The Stars of 'Everybody Wants Some!!' Talk About Living In the Now and Richard Linklater

James Canellos ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Executive Movies Editor

Will Brittain, Blake Jenner and Tyler Hoechlin. Photo Credit:
Richard Linklater is known for boasting the careers of young actors. In his latest film Everybody Wants Some!! There’s no shortage of new actors who have the chance to get their name out there in the true Dazed and Confused fashion. Emertainment Monthly got the chance to be a part of a roundtable interview with EWS!! stars Will Brittain, Tyler Hoechlin and Blake Jenner. The trio talk about everything from baseball to watching Linklater show his skills at ‘Space Invaders’.
I watched Dazed and Confused about 100 times in college. Are you guys ready to be a part of that sort of Linklater cult?
All together: F**k yeah! Why not? (laughs)
That movie just had so many actors come out of it, I know you guys have done a lot already but was that something you looked forward to? Since Linklater’s known for that type of cast.
Will Brittain: Yeah, it’s definitely had a buzz about being cast in the movie amongst the cast. Like ‘Wow this is going to change our lives.’ I mean, yeah you’re in a Richard Linklater movie it’s going to change your life.
Tyler Hoechlin: Even if it just ends being that one experience, I think this movie changed my perspective on a lot of things just as far as what you enjoy doing the most with acting and being on a set. Being a part of a great group of collaborators and actors and great filmmakers. They just became such a bright spot in my list of things that I’ve done and working on a film that I’m passionate about and being able to sit and do press for a movie that you’re actually really proud of. That you really like. It’s a great thing, we don’t have to sit here and BS anybody we can actually talk openly, I mean other then hating these two guys at this point (laughs). No, but it’s such a great group, so to be a part of a film like that is a really cool and special thing.
Blake Jenner: And the amount of things that you’ll learn from an experience like that, from these guys and also just from Rick. He’s such a stealth guy, but if you just really, really just watch him and see how interesting his way of going about the whole rehearsal process and just shooting things, we’ve said a million times if we ever get to direct something- especially something that we write then we’re definitely copying him (laughs). Start to finish.
TH: I’m going to wear the same clothes as him. Same green shirt.
Same haircut and everything.
WB: Definitely not that haircut (laughs).
BJ: He’s got amazing calves so I’ll have to do calve raises (laughs). Don’t say the calve thing (laughs).
How was the audition process for all this, like how did you all get involved and hear about the film in the first place?
TH: They weren’t going to have me come in originally and I actually talked to me agent who said ‘Yeah they’re looking into people a bit younger right now.’ So I actually talked to manager about it and he came up with the idea to send Rick an email, so I watched Rick’s documentary about Augie Garrido, the UT Baseball coach and within like 20 minutes, my manager said find something that sticks out to you and sit and write an email if you feel like it. In the first 20 minutes Augie had said something, three of four times already that was my motto on the inside of all my baseball hats when I played.
WB: Which is what?
TH: ‘Whatever it takes’ and so I sat and opened up my iPad, I wrote an email out, I didn’t proof read it, I didn’t go back and edit it, I just sent it to my manager and said make sure I didn’t misspell anything and that’s the email. We just sent it like that and then asked for the material that they were doing with people who were auditioning, which was an interview, just kind of asking like who you were, what was your high school and college experience, your athletic background and I did that at home.
WB: How did you do it at home? Did you Skype?
TH: Self taped. They gave me just a list of bullet points to hit, so I sent them like a five minute thing ‘This is who I am, where I’m from, what I did.’ From there we got the scripts to read, we all had to go to the casting office and read the script, then from there they give you a list of characters to choose from. You would pick about three characters that you wanted to read and then we went through a couple of cycles of auditions, reading for Rick and that was kinda the process.
WB: One thing that hasn’t really been said yet that I’m thinking of now that I can’t believe I haven’t f**king said in the past two weeks, is how great the casting directors were.
BJ: Yeah, Kim and Justine were incredible!
WB: Yeah and Vicky Boone as well. Which is such a vital part of the project cause they are the ones who hand selected the crop of guys that would be presented in front of Rick, so you know in essence they kind of found the soul of this movie for Rick and were tuned in enough to him to know what he was looking for. I never had a whole lot of respect for casting, not disrespect but as an actor you kind of look at casting as like the obstacle I want to overcome, you know? I want to get to the director. They’re the gatekeepers. This is a film where we all said to each other, once we got the role, ‘Damn this movie is so well cast! Everybody’s just so right for their role.’ And I think it’s obvious when you watch the movie too, it’s spot on.
Will Brittain, Temple Baker, Juston Street, Austin Amelio, Wyatt Russell, Forrest Vickery, Glen Powell, Janet Pierson, Tyler Hoechlin, Tanner Kalina, J. Quinton Johnson and Blake Jenner. Photo Credit:
Did you ever get to that place in your career where you thought you’d get to work with someone like Linklater. Like he’s known for launching a lot of careers so is that what you hoped for?
BJ: Well from first moving out to Los Angeles and working at a Burger King and parrot shop and auditioning for Best Buy commercials that you get cut out of it’s pretty incredible to be able to say well I’m with these guys. Just working with these guys alone, like you never think you’d get to work with such awesome people, but then you add Rick to the mix and it’s kind of like a dream. It sounds cheesy but it’s a dream come true 100%, to be able to say yeah we worked with that director who’s easily one of the greatest directors of our country and time in general.
WB: It’s a myth really, it’s a myth to be able to work with directors like that.
BJ: Yeah you always hope, like hopefully I’ll get to work with someone like that. That would be the dream but you have no expectations, so when it happens you’re like “Oh!”
WB: For me growing up in Texas Richard Linklater’s the guy.
BJ: He’s the unsolicited mayor (laughs).
WB: Oh 100% and you know, you look at McConaughey, every Texas actor that’s a male and reasonably athletic I think looks at McConaughey and says ‘oh man, that’s what I can do! If only somebody found me, I could be the next McConaughey.’ Then you get found by Richard Linklater and you’re like “Fuck” (laughs) so there you go.
The movie throws a lot of thematic balls in the air, there’s this stuff of picking an identity and it runs through a sort of gamut of themes, for each of you what do you think the movie, at its core is a about?
TH: I think it’s not being afraid to be who you are. I think that’s my favorite line in the movie is Willoughby’s line to him when they’re shooting pool, ‘Be weird’ he’s like ‘Always be who you are and never what they want’ and that’s when it’s fun and I thought it was such a great new way of saying ‘Be yourself’ cause it is, it’s so much more fun when you just embrace what you are and who you are and what you think, as opposed to trying to fit in some box that someone might put you in. You thrive that way. To me that’s the theme that always hits me the hardest when I watch it.
BJ: I completely agree with him, life is much, much more fun and you feel like you get more out of it when you’re not just watching yourself like monitoring what you’re saying or how you’re being or where you want to fit in, or like ‘Oh is this the right move?’, so when Willoughby says it that’s definitely a theme and I also think it’s … there’s two things I always say and I could be completely wrong but this is what I get from it, is that 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 boys, with your friends or whoever, that never changes. And also, I always say, cause I think everyone here has their times when they’re focusing on the future or thinking about moments they regret from the past, what’s cool about this movie is there isn’t such a huge plot. There is no car crash coming down like a waterfall and there’s mermaids that are gonna catch it and like make out with the dudes in the car (laughs). It’s like a slice of life where you just can’t help but be there with the guys, so it’s really just a testament to how important it is to live in the now, now-a-days with how connected we are and how easy it is to get distracted.
Tyler Hoechlin and Temple Baker in Everybody Wants Some!!. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
EM: Did the set get incredibly competitive at times with all this testosterone?
BJ: Only this guy (pointing to Hoechlin).
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 of all his shirts (laughs). So it became a problem with wardrobe they had to go and sew certain shirts back together.
BJ: (Sarcastically) We were shooting for two weeks straight, when he started doing them we had to reshoot everything.
TH: Print in Sarcasm! Print in Sarcasm! (laughs).
WB: It was a bit of a disappointment really. It didn’t get competitive. I think the only competition really was the inner competition for all of us to rise to the level that everyone was bringing.
BJ: There was competition with yourself.
WB: Yeah, exactly, ‘inner competition’ that’s what it means dude (laughs).
BJ: I’m sorry. I was digging what you were saying. I was making love to that thought.
WB: Everybody was killing it, everybody was killing it and you knew everybody was killing stand you knew everybody was gonna kill it and so-
BJ: And then when we killed it! (laughs)
WB: And then when we killed it, we were like ‘Hey we killed it!’
BJ: It’s dead!
WB: There was a competition to see who would get the hottest girl to like be in their scene though.
TH: Who did that?
BJ: Only some people.
WB: Well unmentionables.
TH: I would say the strongest competition came up in the game room at Rick’s property during the rehearsal process. There was strong competition in there at the foosball table, on the ping pong table, definitely.
BJ: Strongest unsaid competition was probably who could fly into Austin first cause everybody was so excited to get to work.
WB: And who got to sit next to Rick at the lunch table.
What was the overall atmosphere on set? Because the movie itself is very free flowing and loose.
Everyone: This!
TH: The hard work was done in the rehearsal process beforehand. When we spent a couple of weeks with Rick on his property, we stayed at his bunkhouse, so every morning it was breakfast together and 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 some days we’d kind of throw in ideas and thoughts. We played with that for so long that by the time we actually started shooting we kind of felt like we already made the movie, you know? We had done the scenes enough and we knew what our, as Rick would call them, our ‘Greatest hits’ were so we knew what we were going to do. So at that point it was just waiting for everybody else to show up, give us the clothes, do the hair and actually have the camera set up to capture it. So on set it was just fun, we were just playing.
WB: Literally, we partied everyday in a professional way (laughs). But we did!
TH: With non-alcoholic beers.
WB: It was a party. No lie.
Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin and Will Brittain. Photo Credit:
None of you are old enough to remember the 1980s, did you watch anything, listen to anything to get yourself in that mindset?
TH: Rick gave us an album with a bunch of songs on it that would have been really popular in 1980 that we listened to. Also like a Nano iPod and kind of said these are the songs that were around, kind of find what your character would be into. Which is cool cause that’s how Rick directs too, he’s very suggestive as opposed to ‘Do this.’ Which is great because it inspires creativity from everybody and it makes us feel very free to do that as well so it’s very encouraging. And then movies, every night on his property we would have a screening and then we would have a little discussion and Q&A afterwords, so it would be um Breaking Away, um what was the other one?
BJ: It was an Italian film.
TH: Right, it was an Italian film called Il Sorpasso. It’s strangely the one that influenced us the most probably. We watched the Dock Elis documentary No No which was really good for kind of capturing the attitude of ball players back in that era, just because now the game is so different. It’s so professional and polished and people are worried about their brand and getting endorsements, so more concerned with media and things like that. When back then it was just like, we just want to play ball. It was a lot dirtier and grittier back then, so we wanted to capture that attitude. Also his documentary on Augie Garrido, Inning by Inning. I’m trying to think of the other one.
WB: Animal House.
TH: Animal House. Obviously!
WB: It was obvious that this movie had a little bit of Animal House in it right off the bat. But with a Rick style.
BJ: It was like a philosophical Animal House.
In terms of the preparation for these roles, I feel like with a big cast like this it could have been easy to lose a face in the crowd, but everybody has such a distinguished personality was that there immediately with the script or was that in the rehearsal process and you had to bring parts of yourself?
WB: Absolutely discovered in the rehearsal process and that’s a tribute to everybody because, not just to the guys who didn’t have that many lines which were many, because there was probably only four or five characters that were bigger characters. But also to attribute to those guys who were the bigger characters, who were wise enough and generous enough to realize that their lines would be better served if someone else said them or their moment would be better served if someone else was included in it. It really speaks to the humility of everybody involved.
BJ: And like everybody understood like when a line was given to somebody else or when something was cut down. All the screen time and the script writing lines were all distributed equally everybody was there for each other, there was no one person in the whole process who’s like “That’s mine! I want that! I’m fighting for it and I’m gonna be a douchebag.”
WB: There wasn’t that energy that like your shit got stolen from anyone, it was almost like an excitement like it’s cool, that’s there thing now, what’s my new thing now?
TH: Everyone wanted to be the role player and no one wanted to be the guy who comes up and hits the home run, like everyone would be happy to be the guy to put down the sacrifice bunt.
BJ: Everyone wanted to help someone shine.
TH: Exactly! There’s more moments where you say “Oh that’s cool I remember having a conversation with that guy about that choice” and I’m glad that it worked as opposed to like “Oh I’m so glad I fought to keep that line.” That was never the thing. Shooting the scene no one was ever like “I really want to steal the scene in this moment” everybody was like “Dude this is your time, let us build you up here, let us do this and build the stage for you and then you take it home.” That was the environment because that’ll make the scene better and it’ll make the movie better.
WB: And I wish that I could back and re-live that too. We rehearsed all day, twelve hours we were doing something, it’s not like it wasn’t tough, it was a blast! But still it was all day and then we would finish and it was whose apartment or whose place were we going to go to keep workshopping, to get together and write the scene or write the rap at the end of the movie (laughs). Or like work on the dancing or like work on the behind the scenes footage to use now during marketing, we were always working.
BJ: Always collaborating.
WB: Yeah. The joy of doing this for Rick.
Blake Jenner in Everybody Wants Some!!. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Kind of a segway of what you just said Tyler, did any of you play sports in high school of college? Did you have a similar experience, did what you showed in the movie reflect what you actually experienced or was it different?
TH: I played baseball through college. So yeah, this was kind of like going back to the glory days for me. I’m having a little bit more fun then I had in college. I was the very, very focused athlete and I would party on my one party day that we had. but I was also like if I’m not in class, I’m in the batting range, so I was a little more focused. This was more time for me to do that and have a little more fun I would say.
WB: I was a pretty good football player in high school. I was a pretty good track athlete. But I was a terrible baseball player. I stopped playing that at around age 14, so it was nice to come back in and play baseball and also get taught baseball by guys like Tyler and Justin Street, Tanner Kalina whose a phenomenal ball player, Forrest Vickery, Temple Baker. All these guys are really good ball players. To kind of get coached up by these guys who really knew what they were doing was nice because you know, these guys could have played pro-ball. Justin Street did play pro-ball, he played pro-ball. Tyler could have if he hadn’t quit. Not saying that’s a negative, he decided to do something else. It was a really cool experience.
Did you have to teach Wyatt Russell how to play ball? Because he was a pretty fantastic hockey player.
Everyone: It’s in his blood.
TH: Wyatt’s so freaking annoying in that way dude (laughs).
WB: Literally, Wyatt is so annoying in that way because he’s like casually great at everything.
BJ: We went to Top Golf the other day.
TH: He’s knocking the ball like 350 yards.
BJ: And I ask him like “Is that cause you played hockey?” And he’s like “Nah” (laughs). I grew up playing like football and basketball and I did some wrestling in high school. I still play basketball, like pickup games with my boys back home and like Los Angeles. But I never played baseball, in my life so I hope to God you guys never see me playing baseball in real life, it’s terrible.
It was pretty convincing in the movie.
BJ: Oh cool.
TH: I would say baseball is one of the hardest sports to fake in film and TV so I thought they did a really good job.
EM: Linklater has said that this film is pretty auto-biographical, was there any scenes in particular where you could tell that he lived this moment?
WB: Oh well the video game scene. When he’s talking about the gap method. That’s actually Rick playing when you see the point of view of the screen, that’s him.
BJ: He emailed me like two weeks ago. He sent me a picture of when he was in college and says “Hey that’s you, 10th in the row!” and I look at the title and it’s like a ‘Space Invaders’ national competition (laughs). He was there like whopping ass, that’s how serious it was.
WB: Rick’s a straight up geek about ‘Space Invaders’.
BJ: But other things, he had like kind of borrowed from other people’s lives like being taped up to the wall. That was real but it never happened to him, it happened to a buddy of his at a different school. So he kind of incorporated other things that he heard about in a different way. But what else?
TH: I think other characters where inspired from guys that he knew.
WB: Like he had a shitty roommate his freshman year, so my character is inspired by his roommate (laughs). His roommate lasted three weeks, he literally lasted three weeks, so he had his own room for the whole year. And I’m named after a cat that his family used to have (laughs). Yeah, so that’s a bummer.
This interview has been condensed from its original form. Everybody Wants Some!! is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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