Director Richard Linklater expressed his admiration for Greta Gerwig’s record-breaking “Barbie” in a recent interview with NME. He specifically praised the musical numbers in the fantasy comedy, which include “I’m Just Ken,” performed by Ryan Gosling.
“I liked the musical numbers,” Linklater said. “I liked the movie a lot. It’s worth seeing a couple times. The best thing that happened to cinema in a while is ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Barbie.’ Sends a good message.”
While Linklater is “glad those [movies] are doing well,” the “Dazed and Confused” director isn’t concerned about making films on the scale of “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.”
“It’s all about the journey, not the destination, as they say,” he explained. “Why take a trip? Because you want to have an experience. You don’t know what exactly, but you feel compelled to travel. So it’s the same thing [when] you go to make a movie. It’s like, ‘I don’t know how this is going to go, but I feel compelled to try to have this experience.’”
Linklater is working on his own musical comedy “Merrily We Roll Along,” his latest effort to capture aging in real time as he films the story over the course of several decades; he believes he will be in his 80s when they finish shooting. Linklater also filmed 2014’s “Boyhood” across several years with the same actors, and the “Before” trilogy.
Starring Paul Mescal, “Merrily We Roll Along” is an adaptation of the musical of the same name, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth. It follows a Broadway composer who leaves his fellow theater friends to become a movie producer. Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt also star in Linklater’s adaptation.
Linklater is hopeful that production can soon resume on “Merrily We Roll Along” once the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are resolved. At the Venice Film Festival press conference for his latest film “Hit Man,” starring Glen Powell, Linklater spoke on the labor issues Hollywood is facing right now.
“Everyone’s feeling it, I think no one’s happy. But that’s kind of the problem. When you’re in an industry and no one’s happy, maybe it’s time to recalibrate and come forward with some things that could be fair to everyone. I think something’s gotta give,” he said. “I’m not really in the middle of it so much. I’m on strike, I’m a proud union member. But I think it will be resolved. It’s kind of one of those crucial moments.”
Production for “Merrily We Roll Along” began in 2019 and they initially planned for a 2039 release date.