Ellar Coltrane then and now: The Boyhood star filmed a movie over the course of 12 years

Director Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been a 12-year labor of love that’s mostly a study in the passage of time and how delicate life really is. With Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight we’ve watched Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy age over the span of 20 years, but watching a child grow up in a single film is a different thing altogether. “It almost isn’t even like a film at all,” Linklater told The Guardian. “It’s somewhere between summer camp and an art project. It’s like a time sculpture.”

19-year-old Ellar Coltrane started playing Mason when he was six years old and grew up with him. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette were also along for the longterm ride as his parents. The scope of this project was so large and unprecedented that it took a lot of trust and faith to get it done. First of all, Linklater had to take a gamble on actors who would commit to the long process, and get IFC films to let him film in short burst over a twelve year period with no discernable release date in site. “There’s always a life metaphor,” Linklater says. “How do we plan for our own futures? You do your best but you live in the present. So it was the same thing with the production. You know you’re collaborating with an unknown, random future element. All you can do is keep marching towards it, and adjust yourself as the reality shifts.” The worst could have happened as well, one of the characters, or even Linklater himself, could have passed away during the process. “But you’ve got to play the statistics,” he explained “There were really five main people: the four family members and myself. The odds were that we would all be here 12 years later.”

Knowing Linklater, he probably has plans for a sequel to Boyhood, which releases July 11. If so, the main character is in. Ellar told Total Film that he “absolutely” would want to play Mason again, just that he needs “at least five years off” first. “It was a blast. I would follow Rick to the end of the Earth,” he added. He would, however, like to branch off and do different films, preferably a Coen brothers film (who wouldn’t?)


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