LOS ANGELES — Director Richard Linklater remembers the year 1980 as a breezy, fun and raunchy time. It was also the end of an era — the last gasp of the “utter hedonistic abandonment” of the 1970s before the conservative cultural backlash of the new decade was to take hold.
But the college freshman of his latest film “Everybody Wants Some!!” didn’t know that. The draft was long over. “Just Say No” hadn’t yet been introduced. In the fall of 1980 at a small Texas college, everything was still a party, especially in the long weekend before classes start.
And it’s in that concentrated, heightened weekend that Linklater chose to set the film, which follows the bro philosophers of the college baseball team around as they mine every bit of fun out of those precious, responsibility-free days with sex, drugs, alcohol and everything in between. The film, now playing in New York and Los Angeles, expands nationwide in the coming weeks.
In movie time, “Everybody Wants Some!!” is set only four years after its predecessor, Linklater’s last day of high school cult classic “Dazed and Confused.” In real time, 23 years separate the two semi-autobiographical films.
Those two decades didn’t really change how Linklater felt about that period in his life, though.
“It’s like running into an old friend who you haven’t seen in a while. The conversation picks up right there,” Linklater said.
The 55-year-old “Boyhood” director was mainly struck by how much younger the cast was than him now, and how the idea of asking a girl to dance at a disco was just not in the cultural vocabulary of his millennial actors. As in “Dazed and Confused” and its then-unknown cast of now notables like Matthew McConaughey, Linklater populated this cast with under the radar actors like Blake Jenner, Wyatt Russell, Ryan Guzman and Tyler Hoechlin.
Linklater drew on both people he knew and many of his experiences to craft the characters and situations. Without spoiling the fun of discovery, let’s just say that some of it is not too far removed from the antics of “Animal House” and other college comedies.
“Almost all of it really happened in some way or another,” Linklater said.