| Valerie Hamilton |
LOS ANGELES (dpa) – Boyhood was rewarded with three Golden Globes Sunday for its groundbreaking approach to storytelling: showing life, and its changes, over 12 years of real time.
Twelve years ago, director Richard Linklater assembled the film’s core cast: his daughter Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane as a young sister and brother, and Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as their divorced parents. He filmed them for one week a year, every subsequent year.
“Most films, you control everything,” Linklater said, speaking to the press alongside the film’s cast and producers backstage after the film’s best drama. “Well this, we couldn’t. We couldn’t control the future.”
The changes wrought by their own lives, and the changing cultural context of more than a decade of lived history, became as much a part of the film as any written script.
GameBoys and the Iraq War gave way to iPhones and Obama, as the film’s characters grew and grayed.
“Our wild card collaborator on this whole project was the unknown future,” Linklater said.
Hawke said the method, unprecedented in a fiction feature, let time move the characters forward.
The film’s timeline “let a character change the way that we all change – inevitably, slowly, mysteriously,” he said.
Arquette said, when first approached about the film, she jumped at the chance to try something totally new.
“When [Linklater] told me his concept, I said ‘yes, yes, yes.’ It’s going to be beautiful to watch children grow up; beautiful, but also difficult to watch us age,” she said.
The film’s art, she said, was its deeply rooted, natural approach to depicting life.
“It was really breaking all the boundaries of conventional wisdom in telling a movie: in the third act, this character is supposed to do X, Y and Z. Dramatically, you’re supposed to do this. Everything that movie companies tell you, this is what audiences want to see, [Linklater] said, ‘no’.”
Life, though, is unpredictable. Linklater said he had “fleeting” doubts about the project and the risk that over 12 years, actors might move on.
Instead, said Linklater, “a really funny thing happened.”
“Every year we did it, no one drifted away. We gained momentum,” he said. “Think about anything in your life. The more you do it, the more you’re invested in it. Everyone here got more invested in this film … It represented a life project for all of us.”