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Richard Linklater and Beanie Feldstein Are Spending 20 Years on a Movie

We'll see it in 2039, if the world still exists by then.

by River Donaghey
Aug 29 2019, 8:39pm

Photos by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic (left) and Jamie McCarthy/Getty (right

Richard Linklater has always liked playing with time. He kicked off his career with a movie that takes place over the course of a single day. The original version of Dazed and Confused was structured around the time it would take for a carload of people to listen to an eight-track of ZZ Top's Fandango! The Before movies are all nearly real-time. And then came Boyhood, the 2014 film Linklater shot over the course of 12 years.

It was a massive undertaking, and one that he pulled off flawlessly. But now, it looks like the guy has decided that 12 years was too easy or something and he wants to pull the same Boyhood scheme again—but this time, he's going to spend a whopping 20 years on it.

According to a new report from Collider, Linklater's next multi-year film project will be an adaptation of the Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along and will take, yes, two entire decades to complete. Booksmart's Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect) are attached to star, with Blumhouse on board, as well. So... put it down on your 2039 calendars or something?

The musical, which first opened on Broadway in 1981, spans two decades in the life of a Hollywood producer named Franklin Shepard, beginning at his heyday in 1976 and then moving backwards through major moments in his past. Presumably, that means that Linklater will start shooting the ending first, while everyone's young. Platt will play Shepard with Feldstein as his long-time friend, Mary Flynn.

Shooting one movie over 20 years is a brain-bleedingly bizarre move, but this is Richard Linklater, and even his missteps are interesting, at least. This one should be worth seeing—if he can actually pull it off.

Of course, Linklater will be nearly 80 by the time it's done, most movie theaters will probably be closed by then, and the corporations in our country will likely have splintered into independent fiefdoms where we pledge fealty to Amazon in trade for our allotted water rations so none of us will have the means to trifle with old-world luxuries like film anyway, but whatever. Bring it on!