Throughout his career, Richard Linklater has found innovative ways to evoke the passage of time and its profound effect on our relationships, our memories, and our experience of the world around us. In 2002, he embarked on his most ambitious project to date, a coming-of-age drama built around a talented group of actors, who committed to playing their roles at brief intervals over the course of the next twelve years. The result is 2014’s Boyhood, which chronicles the everyday life of a young Texan named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows up with his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) and older sister (Lorelei Linklater). Guided by the director’s patient and perceptive gaze, the film serves as both a document of its cast members as they age on-screen and a moving exploration of the incremental changes that time effects within each character’s life.
During the process of making the film, photographer Matt Lankes would visit the set once a year to take portraits of the cast. In a program on our release, we showcase a selection of these photos with narration from Linklater, the actors, and producer Cathleen Sutherland. In the following excerpt, Arquette, who won an Oscar for her performance, explains how she first became involved with the project and the parallels between her character and her own mother.
Below, Coltrane reflects on his evolving relationship with his on-screen character and the emotional journey of making the film.