Thursday, April 26, 2012

Talking to Richard Linklater About Bernie, "The Most Purely Texas Thing I've Ever Done"

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM

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So do you get that response a lot when you’re trying to get funding, that your movies are so talky they’re not even really films?
Yeah, yeah. Half the films I make don’t feel like real movies. The key is keeping the budget low enough that it’s like, “Oh well, okay, we’ll give you that much.”

You’re good at casting and directing actors. Jack Black is getting a lot of attention for this part, which is probably more subdued and naturalistic than anything he’s ever done before. What made you think of him for it?
I sent the script to Jack hoping there would be an element of Bernie that he could find in himself—which I thought there was, just knowing Jack as a friend. There is a part of him that’s pretty non-confrontational. He really is a sweet guy. In performance, of course, he’s this extroverted guy. But I thought he would understand this repressed guy too, and he did. He thought that was very interesting.

You don’t really know actors based on what you’ve seen them in. There’s always a more complex person behind that who’s looking for the right part to bring that out. Whether they ever get the opportunity to play that part is another matter.

I don’t remember Matthew McConaughey ever being as funny as he is in this movie.
Oh, Matthew’s really funny.

But in a movie? Well, I guess he was funny in Dazed and Confused.
Yeah, I thought so. But he saw Danny [the DA he plays in Bernie] in the right way, as the only sane guy in town, who’s obsessed with justice. And who does that constant personal promotion you have to do to stay in office.

The real Danny is a real showboat, a funny guy. He’s one of those Southern bumpkins who’s running circles around you and winds up running the country and the world, ‘cause you think they’re stupid because they’ve got an accent.

You must be proud of Julie Delpy too.
Oh yeah, always.

I just saw her latest movie, which basically grew out of your Before Sunrise and Before Sunset movies. This one’s a sequel to her first movie, 2 Days in Paris, and she decided the best way to raise money for that was to make it sound to funders like a sequel for the ones she’d done for you, right?
Yeah, or some twisted version of them. Julie’s sense of humor is pitched at a different … she finds really hilarious things, and she’s great at juxtaposing. Not that my own humor isn’t funny too, but we have a different tone.

Nothing Julie does would surprise me. I visited her once in LA and she was taking guitar lessons. I swear, less than a year later, like 10 months later, she had an album. She’d written all this music, and it was beautiful. She’s a pure artist.

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