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Clip: Richard Linklater on Talk Easy

Richard Linklater

Sam Fragoso has been hosting the Talk Easy podcast for eight years, and he’s got a seemingly natural talent for putting his interviewees at ease. Refreshingly uninterested in steering them into clickbait or gotcha territory, he instead signals at the outset of each hour-long conversation that he’s done the research, he’s genuinely interested in the work, and he’s ready, willing, and able to guide each guest into his or her comfort zone. As a starter pack for anyone new to the show, I’d recommend Fragoso’s 2019 interview with Laura Dern and the 2022 talk with Ethan Hawke.

Richard Linklater, a fan of the show, is Fragoso’s latest guest, and the occasion, of course, is Hit Man, the new movie starring Glen Powell as a university professor who poses as an assassin for hire and Adria Arjona as the client he falls for. Hit Man “shames nearly every mainstream romantic comedy in recent memory simply by delivering the genre goods,” writes Adam Nayman at the Ringer. Surveying Linklater’s oeuvre and finding a lot more than a hangout vibe and a keen interest in the passage of time, Nayman suggests that “there’s a case to be made for the autodidactic Austinite as the stealth American master of his entire Gen X cohort.”

Linklater tells Fragoso about making his early short films and getting out of his system certain tendencies that would lead to dead ends, about starting slow on a purely technical level with his first feature, It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988), and about giving voices to his characters in Slacker (1991). He reflects on sticking to his guns in the face of ridiculous demands during the making of his first Hollywood movie, Dazed and Confused (1993), a production he came very close to walking away from. The conversation then naturally touches on The Before Trilogy, and eventually, to the troubled state of the industry now.

In the clip below, interspersed with some behind-the-scenes footage, Linklater explains why he might have been a terrific criminal and talks about discovering over time what makes his art his. You can watch the entire conversation at I Heart Radio.

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