Glen Powell can’t say enough great things about Richard Linklater. The actor is one of the 12 main characters in “Everybody Wants Some!!,” Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to “Dazed and Confused” — that’s to say it’s set in 1980, not 1976, but hits the same hang-out sweet spot. Powell plays Finnegan, one of the older of a pack of collegiate baseballers, and the actor is also one of the more experienced. In a pack of mostly fresh faces, Powell, 27, is one you might recognize — underneath a shaggy mustache and a permanent toothy smile — given his time on “Scream Queens” and in “The Expendables 3.” Still, he swears “Everybody” is “the most perfect film I’ve ever got to shoot,” and he’s stoked to tell you why.
Have you spent much time together with your fellow castmates since the movie wrapped?
Tell you the truth, ever since we stopped filming we’ve never stopped hanging out. That’s rare. Some of these movies you say, “Oh, we’re going to hang out afterwards,” then life gets in the way. But with us, there will always be a group text. We’re always hanging out, always kicking it, going to each other’s houses. It’s a really solid, special group of dudes. I don’t see the band breaking up anytime soon.
It really looks like it was summer camp.
During the rehearsal period, all 12 of us were in these bunkbeds at Rick [Linklater]’s ranch. You wake up, you shower, usually in the pool, you go and rehearse in Rick’s library. Then you play baseball for a bit, you do some more rehearsal, then you go in the pool, you go for a run. Then we’d watch a movie Rick think is pertinent. I’m not sure I’ll have another film experience that was this special. You’re down there with 12 guys who are crazy talented, crazy cool, and not one of them is a jerk.
It’s amazing he was able to round up 12 actors who seem to really get along.
Apparently there were a couple people on “Dazed and Confused” who weren’t exactly nice or generous actors. Through the rehearsal process Rick kept coming up to me and saying, “Hey, are you getting along with everybody? Is everybody happy?” He’d ask me that every couple days. What he was trying to do is sniff out of there is a kind of rat among us — something rotten in Denmark. And there just never was.
You actually had a small role in Linklater’s “Fast Food Nation” when you were 16. What are your memories of that?
I wound up breaking my arm a week-and-a-half before filming. I had to call Rick and tell him to please not fire me. He was like, “Dude, there was always a guy in high school who broke his arm. That’s amazing! It’s so authentic and real!” It wasn’t just that he wasn’t upset; he was excited by the fact that he was going to have a kid with a cast in his movie. That speaks to Rick: He’s not a guy who holds onto his vision too tightly. That’s why his movies feel authentic and organic.
There’s a real sense that he demands his actors collaborate with him. That must be shocking for someone who’s done his fair share of “normal” acting gigs.
The way movies are assembled now, a lot of it has to do with foreign value. You have this actor who just had a small role in “Spider-Man,” then you have this actor who’s really good in this TV show and he’s got value here. You assemble based on numbers and not on creative. That’s not how Rick does it. You don’t have a Miles Teller or a Michael B. Jordan in this movie who will shock you into the fact that you’re not in 1980. Maybe in 20 years you may recognize these guys that way, the same way you look at “Dazed and Confused” and go, “Oh, that’s Matthew McConaughey.” But for now you really can be transported back to 1980, because you don’t know a single guy in this movie. Sometimes you watch movies and you feel the stunt casting and the studio notes behind it. You feel the corporation behind the creative. All of a sudden the magic is gone.
This only has one sequence dedicated to sports, but it tries to capture something unique about athletes. They bust each other’s balls, but they’re each capable of surprising viewers with depth and the breadth of their interests.
I’ve never seen a sports movie that is so accurate to the jock’s journey, so to speak. The nature of sports is competition and hanging out. Obviously these guys are all volleying for the same spots, but they’re also trying to accomplish something together. It’s a hard thing to describe to someone who’s never played sports or competed on this level. It’s not a bunch of Neanderthals; everyone’s different and specific. We wanted every character to be someone we’d never seen onscreen before.
There’s even this strong sense that most of them aren’t committed to playing baseball after college.
With Finnegan, we always talked about him as this guy who is going to live on a yacht for a bit with a bunch of supermodels. Then he’s going to be president of the United States. Then he’s going to invent something, then be some Fortune 500 CEO, and then give it all away to live in Africa. He said Finnegan should come across as what you think is the most interesting man in the world before he becomes the most interesting man in the world. He’s a guy who likes to experience the best things in life — and he will, because he’s got that sense of play that’s infectious.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge