- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2016

Richard Linklater turned slacker ‘70s humor into comedy gold in the 1993 film “Dazed and Confused,” co-starring a young and then-unknown Matthew McConaughey. Mr. Linklater is now setting his sights on 1980 for the “spiritual sequel” “Everybody Wants Some!!” opening Friday in the District.

Featuring a cast of almost universal unknowns, the film centers around a group of aimless college basketball players navigating the pitfalls of young adulthood. Mr. Linklater invited his budding actors — most of whom weren’t even born when the film takes place — to rehearse at the director’s Texas home long before a single feet of film was in the magazines.

“For three weeks you wake up you, read through the script together, and [Mr. Linklater] says, ‘Just read the script, but riff, improv, have a good time,’” recalled actor Glen Powell, who co-stars as Finnegan in the new film. “And then we go play baseball. And then we go back into [his] library and add some of our changes we came up with that morning.”

“We would just throw out ideas all day and come back with the best,” said co-star Wyatt Russell. “And by the time it came time for the actual shooting of the film, it had pretty much been nailed down in improv.”

Mr. Powell and Mr. Russell developed an informal competition over ping pong at Mr. Linklater’s ranch, and their rivalry even found its way into the respective characters’ dynamic.

“We played probably 40 games a night, and it was this rivalry that just went on,” Mr. Powell said. “And this dialogue that you see in the movie is actual dialogue that went on” while they competed.

In addition to massaging the script with his cast, Mr. Powell said the filmmaker coached he and his fellow actors on “the do’s and don’ts of the era,” which included a musical education of “hundreds of songs” and making sure they didn’t make references that were anachronistic to the film’s setting.

Mr. Powell, a veteran of “The Dark Knight Rises,” said Mr. Linklater fostered an incredibly collaborative atmosphere at his ranch — and was the first to invite his actors to address him informally.

“You know Rick more than five minutes, calling him ‘Richard‘ feels really weird,” Mr. Powell said with a laugh of the filmmaker also responsible for “Slacker” and the “Before” trilogy.

The actors clearly enjoyed themselves during rehearsal, on set and ribbing one another during their press tour. Mr. Powell recalled a sex scene he had, during the filming of which the actors continued trying new twists on some of the script’s lines.

“We were literally kind of riffing [on the lines] while this naked girl was on top of me,” he laughed.

“You really see more naked Wyatt Russell than anyone else in this movie.”

“That’s true,” Mr. Russell concurred.

“It’s the most surprising nudity you’ll see this year: Wyatt Russell in a cowboy hat doing yoga.”

“If I was a Kardashian, I’d be famous,” Mr. Russell laughed.

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