As strange as it is that Brad Bird is directing Mission: Impossible 4, can you imagine if it was Richard Linklater instead? The filmmaker recently told The Playlist he was considered for that gig as well as a number of studio-produced horror flicks, but he didn't see himself a good fit for any of them. Not that he isn't capable of Hollywood fare -- he did remake The Bad New Bears, after all -- but the guy will always be associated with the indie film scene. Even his last work, Me and Orson Welles, was basically self-released.

And unfortunately, as he noted candidly to the movie blog, the two projects he's been working on since then are either dead or close. One of these is the "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused, titled That's What I'm Talking About, which is "just sitting there" because he can't seem to find an interested distributor. The other, the rom-com road movie centered around the Obama inauguration called Liars A-E, died when Miramax closed shop.

So why isn't Linklater settling for an action sequel, horror reboot or mainstream comedy to keep his career going? Well, fortunately, he's always got his own arthouse-friendly ideas to try out first. He revealed that he's currently working on a black comedy he wrote ten years ago, which he referred to as "my Fargo." He explained that it's kind of a true crime story involving a funeral home assistant who befriends an old lady, and that it's got another fifty characters. Sounds like the Coen brothers meets Altman.
If that doesn't sell, he admits that he's lucky he can always go back to Hollywood and make studio comedies. He's no industry poison, like Terry Gilliam. And he "sells out" better than most people, including the director he inspired most, Kevin Smith. Yet we constantly get depressing stories like this one, or are compelled to write op-ed pieces asking the world why nobody will make a Richard Linklater film.

He's given us two of the most romantic films of the last twenty years (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), the second best Philip Dick adaptation ever (A Scanner Darkly), and he gave my generation its American Graffiti. I'll forgive him for the terrible Fast Food Nation adaptation and buy a ticket to whatever he puts out next. I promise. Won't you do the same, just to keep him afloat? Heck, why don't guys like Linklater use financing sites like He could easily raise enough money from his fans to fund whatever he wants to do next.

At least, I hope he could. As he acknowledges, the film industry is a lot different right now than when he began. Though it's true the self-distribution angle has a stigma, new tools and strategies are abound for a strong, talented, arthouse-friendly filmmaker like him. Or, maybe he should just team up with Gilliam and make some crazy drug-inspired animated thing called "Dazed and Loathing" I would probably give all the money I have to see that.
categories Cinematical