SXSW: 'Everybody Wants Some' Kicks Off Film Section With Texas Love

Austin-based director Richard Linklater told THR he's been trying to make the "spiritual sequel" to 'Dazed and Confused' since 2002.

Richard Linklater debuted his "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused as the opening film at the South by Southwest Film Festival on Friday night.

Everybody Wants Some, an 1980s-set comedy which follows a college baseball team during the wild first few days of the new school year, has been a project that Linklater has wanted to make for years, he told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet before the premiere at the Paramount Theatre in Austin.

"I've been thinking about this since 2002," he said. "It's been a long, long time, so I'm just glad I finally got it made."

The Annapurna and Paramount film, which stars Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Glen Powell, Zoey Deutch and Wyatt Russell, was very much based on Linklater's own life.

"Almost everything in this movie really happened," the filmmaker, who played baseball as a teen, told the crowd during the Q&A portion after the screening.

The film seemed like an ideal opener for the Austin-based festival. Not only was the movie set and filmed in Texas and included several local actors, but Linklater is known for being an Austin-based director and for building up the film community in the town. Plus, a doc about the filmmaker, Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny, is also playing at SXSW.

"I've had a lot of films show here over the years, but I realized I've never been opening night. They've always had a big comedy open, and I'm happy to have made one that qualifies," he told the audience. "We had so much fun making this movie."

When it came to casting the film, Linklater said he wasn't focused on their athleticism: "I was looking for that swagger you get with a young, entitled athlete."

The cast also had plenty of kind words to share about the filmmaker. "As an actor, it was the most rewarding experience I've had," said Hoechlin. "As someone who aspires to someday direct, it was such a great lesson. His willingness to collaborate and explore, to give ideas without giving orders — that's what makes him a great director."

Before the screening (the audience included Annapurna producer Megan Ellison and Kurt Russell, father of Wyatt Russell), Linklater mentioned that there had been a possibility that they would have had a very special guest at the premiere: President Barack Obama, who spoke at SXSW earlier on Friday. He couldn't make it, but Linklater joked that he sent along a note that was displayed onscreen: a photo of a young Obama with the words, "I had a blast in college in 1980! Rock on — Barry."

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