Filmmaker Richard Linklater met Timothy “Speed” Levitch in 1999 when the loquacious tour guide–cum–philosopher was in Linklater’s hometown, Austin, promoting the documentary The Cruise, a portrait of Levitch. Naturally, the director who specializes in talky movies and the guy who can’t stop talking hit it off instantly. Soon, Linklater cast Levitch as a literally animated version of his already animated self in 2001’s Waking Life, and in 2003, Linklater directed Levitch in the short, poignant 9/11 meditation Live from Shiva's Dance Floor. And now they have joined forces again, for the new Hulu-exclusive Web series Up to Speed, in which Linklater follows Levitch to different cities, where he brings history to life by expounding upon local monuments that have been largely forgotten.
Linklater told us, “Doing a TV series is different for me, having just done movies. We kind of approached each one as a little movie unto itself . . . The location and subject matter of each episode really dictated its tone.” So far, Up to Speed has zipped through San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia, but Linklater hopes that in the future the show will include some international episodes, as Levitch’s knowledge knows no bounds. “Speed is like Old Faithful. You can absolutely count on him—in any situation, no matter where he is, he’s going to regularly spew forth historical information and inspiration.” Check out the first episode below.