An exclusive interview here at Moviepilot on Michael Dunaway, co-director of 21 Years: Richard Linklater.
1. Why did you decide to create a documentary about Richard Linklater?
"I was originally commissioned by my friend Jolene Pinder to do a short on Linklater for the New Orleans Film Festival, to show before their 20th anniversary screening of Slacker. As I began setting up interviews and the actors' response was so good, I started thinking this would be a good feature. And then, when I interviewed Ethan, he was beyond encouraging. In fact, he wouldn't let me leave until I told him I'd make it into a feature!"
2. Can you walk us through the process of making the doc?
"It took us [Michael and co-director Tara Wood] over two and a half years. The longest part of the process was scheduling the interviews -- not because anyone was difficult to convince, but because so many people took so long to schedule. Matthew McCoanughey had a few other things going on. He was launching the McConnaissance, winning Oscars, making one of the greatest television shows of all time, things like that. Ethan was appearing in two great Linklater films and about a hundred other films. Billy was shooting the award-winning TV adaptation of one of the greatest movies of all time. So that was the longest part of the process."
3. What is your favorite Linklater film, and why?
"I always say that I think the most exciting thing about Rick's career is that his last two movies have been his best -- Before Midnight and Boyhood. And I think Boyhood may just be the greatest movie of our generation. It's not just the idea of shooting it over twelve years, although that's so impressive in its own right. It's just so moving and all-encompassing and wise. If it doesn't win multiple Oscars I'm going to throw things across my living room."
4. What lessons did you learn about filmmaking through the process?
"Live a life and have something to say. Write a great, thoughtful script. Gather great people around you and truly collaborate with them. Mostly, don't wait until things are just right. Go make your film right now, with what you have. Those are all Rick's lessons."
5. What are your current plans/future projects?
"This film is the first in the 21 Years series about great directors, and we're launching a Seed & Spark campaign soon for 21 Years: Quentin Tarantino. We'll be doing 1-2 of these films per year going forward. I've got several projects in the works myself including two narrative films -- an Altmanesque date movie, and a historical epic about the climactic battle of the civil rights movement, Birmingham in 1963."
Make sure to catch the film '21 Years: Richard Linklater' in theaters and video on demand this Friday, November 7th!