Interview with Richard Linklater
of Slacker, Dazed and Confused and Waking Life
by Jon Lebkowsky
[This interview was conducted while Linklater was editing "Dazed
Jon Lebkowsky: I recall reading an interview you did after
SLACKER came out, and it seems to me that you had something very
different in mind for your next feature.
Richard Linklater: I had eight different things I was working
on, it could have been any of them. When asked what I was going
to do next, I always said something different. Actually, that's
how this new film, "Dazed and Confused," came to be. I told a writer
in Washington, D.C. about it, and he called a friend who worked
at Universal, and it kind of got back to 'em. I just described my
teenage movie. I could have described anything, but I described
JL: I take it this won't be another "American Graffiti..."
RL: Naw, it's got too bad an attitude. [Laughter] "Graffiti"
was nostalgic, it was that high school world everyone wished they
grew up in..."Dazed and Confused" is the world everyone *did* grow
JL: Does it have its roots in Texas, like SLACKER did?
RL: Yeah, well, not in quite such a big way...I mean, it
doesn't declare a town or anything...it's a small town in Texas...medium
size, you know, 50,000 people. It's not Austin, it's just a suburban
JL: I grew up in a town of 30 or 40 thousand.
JL: It was in West Texas, called Big Spring. Wide spot
in the road, y'know? At the time, it was a growing concern, because
they had oil. They had a refinery outside town. Now there's nothing
there...oh, they had an Air Force Base, but it closed, too.
RL: Oh, right, all that's changed, huh?
JL: And I remember some of the stuff we did when we were
teenagers, especially those long drives in the country.
RL: Oh, I know, it lets the imagination run wild, all that
room to kinda roam around.
JL: Yeah, looking out for the Hook Man.
RL: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs.] Yeah, he's out there somewhere....
I think more people grow up like that than in big cities...you grow
up in some crummy little town somewhere, and then you gravitate
toward the big city first chance you get.
JL: Is there any alignment of this film with SLACKER? Any
carry- over, any sense of similar attitude?
RL: Oh, I think so, yeah. Some people are jokingly referring
to it as a "prequel" to SLACKER. It's not that simple, but it's
got a similar kind of drifting feel....
JL: Are you familiar with Bob Black, "The Abolition of
RL: Yeah, sure. Yeah, that's great!
JL: I was wondering if you read that, or if you considered
that, when you were working on SLACKER.
RL: A little. I remember even at the SLACKER opening I
put a reprint of "The Abolition of Work," just that one essay...I
got a bunch of free copies somewhere, and left a big stack of them
at the theatre exit.
JL: Loompanics has a full collection of essays...I was
looking at your book, and noticed that you're familiar with Loompanics.
RL: Oh, sure. Yeah, [referring to a reprint of "The Abolition
of Work"] they print this...you can buy this from them?
JL: You can order those for $1.00 apiece...
RL: From Loompanics?
JL: No, I don't think so...I think it's from Bob Black
himself...there's ordering information in here...Feh! Press.
RL: Do you think that is Bob Black?
JL: My guess was that it is...something he was publishing,
maybe at cost...he doesn't seem to be a greedhead...
RL: Be a what?
JL: A greedhead.
RL: No, no, he's quite the opposite, I would imagine.
JL: He probably advocates share-right, open copyright.
RL: Yeah, I'm like that, too. It's like, hey, you know...open
information. SLACKER was bootlegged extensively on video before
it came out. Now it's playing in countries where they never really
got the right to show it. What the hell.
JL: And have you read SLAM! by Lew Shiner?
RL: Never read it, no...
JL: In the back of this, he talks about Loompanics, and
he says "A major inspiration for this novel is 'The Abolition of
Work' by Bob Black..." This novel's about a guy who gets out of
Bastrop prison and moves to Galveston, moves into some rich lady's
house that's full of cats.
RL: In Galveston?
RL: I was just in Galveston...that sounds great...who is
Lew Shiner? That sounds familiar...
JL: Lew Shiner is a Texas writer who used to write science
fiction. I think he's living in Houston now, but he used to live
in Austin. There's a group of science fiction authors who have lived
in Austin, like Bruce Sterling, Howard Waldrop...
RL: His character was in a correctional institution...is
JL: The character in this book gets involved with a bunch
of skaters...I think that Shiner started reading Thrasher, and got
carried away. [Laughs]
JL: So DAZED AND CONFUSED is like a prequel to SLACKER,
in terms of attitude?
RL: Oh, yeah...it's kinda what the disgruntled teenagers
are doing, the ones who know that everything is pretty fucked, and
hate the whole power/social hierarchy that they're having to deal
with. The only difference between them and the characters in SLACKER
is probably just five or six years of reading time.
RL: Yeah, college. It's kinda like high school, they're
still trying to fit in with the others, but not doing too good a
job, or certain ones are doing too good a job....
JL: You grew up in Houston, didn't you?
RL: Houston, and some in Huntsville, Texas.
JL: So I guess this town is more like Huntsville than like
RL: Yeah, closer to Huntsville, but a lot of the experiences
in it really took place in Houston. It was weird going from a town
of 20,000 to a town of 4 million...it's not that much different
when you're seventeen, you're doing the same things, riding around
looking for something to do. I think it was that aspect that made
me think that my high school experience wasn't that different from
anyone else's. The plight of the teenager never changes. The oppression
you're fighting is always the same.
JL: That's where it starts. That's where they start pushing
you into slots.
RL: Yeah, yeah. Even in the movie, the junior high's very
old and traditionally built, early 20th century, very beautiful
brick, and the high school's cold and institutional, ugly, boring,
JL: That's the high school I went to!
RL: That's when they start getting you...you know, the
whole design of it, the prison feel.
JL: Do you see any connection between what you were describing
in SLACKER, the kind of people you were showing there, and the hippies
of the sixties, or the beatniks of the fifties? Other than just
RL: Yeah. There's always been a group...they seem to be
labeled through most generations, but the eighties group didn't
seem to have a label. As if mainstream society kind of forgot that
people like this still existed. It's not unique to any generation,
I mean, every generation has a group, a certain percentage that
probably hasn't changed much either over the years...a percentage
of people who just aren't buying into the trend of the day.
JL: It's hard to look at Ronald Reagan and George Bush
every day, and remember that you've got blood flowing in your veins...
RL: I know, I know. And I think it was even more intense
in the eighties. I have another movie I want to do that starts off
in '85, and is similar to SLACKER in a way, but deals more specifically
with people out of work, who eventually go off on their own tangents.
The eighties were a prime time to do that, but I think the difference
between the eighties and the sixties was that the media paid no
attention to it. The media is so corporately controlled, and these
people aren't a consumer group as much as the others, so the idea
was let's just phase 'em out, and forget 'em altogether.
JL: To me, that's almost forcing the evolution of this
independent scene, where you have zines and you have smaller independent
films, and guerilla television.
RL: Yeah, that's all you have. The major media is so...we
need the alternate channels of communication opened up through human
necessity, 'cause we're not getting it anywhere else. People can't
ever be denied, they're going to create their own network. That's
what's so cool about computers and videotapes and zines...
JL: They all seem to be connected. The people who do zines
are on the computer networks...have you ever done much with computers?
RL: Not a whole lot. I have, a couple, but I can't say
JL: There's a lot of spontaneous interaction online, a
lot of things happening with no geographical constraint, so you
have these movements...a movement springs up on the two coasts,
and it's here so much faster. There's always been a connection between
Austin and San Francisco, for instance...when something happens
in San Francisco, the guys who are online know about it now...raves
are one example. There's a rave scene in Austin now...we went to
a rave a week or so ago, and most of the people I saw there that
I knew, I'd met online. And there really seems to be a real similarity
in attitude between slackers and hackers....
RL: Oh, yeah. Very much in the face of how you're "supposed"
to do it...open channels of communication and copyright infringement...[laughter]
JL: And it's harder and harder to squash because there's
too many means of communication.
RL: They who think they're getting hurt by it are so outnumbered,
so greatly, and they don't quite have the means of control. I mean,
they try to, but it's beyond them. The numbers are on our side,
I think, if the law and other things aren't.
JL: We thought that in the sixties...I think the difference
now is not just in the numbers, but also in the infrastructure.
We may have the infrastructure...but I don't know, computer networks
depend a lot on the phone company and the government. I suppose
they could yank the foundations that support the networks, but that
would be hard for them to do now...
RL: Yeah, it's almost like they're so big that you can
kind of use them in your own way for your own means...but that's
their fault, y'know? That's the small price they pay for having
world monopolies on everything. The hand-me-downs in this society
are better than most, y'know? The freebies and the things you can
kind of latch onto....putting this in the best spirit....
JL: It used to be that you could live off the fat of the
land, but that's harder to do now. I guess in Austin it's not so
RL: Yeah, but generally, like in New York City...I feel
sorry for my friends in San Francisco and New York, it's impossible.
You have to have your slave days just to pay the rent and keep going.
That's the toughest thing of all, maintaining your body so your
spirit can be free. It's tough.
JL: That's pretty much what SLACKER is about, right? Its
success seems kinda paradoxical.
RL: I guess I was surprised at the success of SLACKER.
For all these reasons, I thought it would totally be an underground
film. I figured I'd be trading videos and selling them in the back
of some magazine. That for me would be the most likely channel for
it, if anything, as I was making it. I think it's kind of a neat
thing that something like that could pop up, that the mainstream
and the underground are joined at certain places. Had SLACKER been
made in the sixties, it would never have got the distribution. They
didn't have distributors who dealt with films like this at all.
Whereas in the eighties there are these middle-level distributors
who kind of have a foot in both worlds, and that's where SLACKER
found a niche.
JL: In the sixties we always figured we would have to infiltrate
government agencies, the corporate world, and so forth, so people
have been doing that. So there's an accessibility there where there
may not have been any before.
RL: I know, and that's what happened. There are people
who are cool, they're from the sixties and the seventies, with these
cool attitudes...through their own interest and competence they
find themselves at some higher position, and whatever they're doing,
for whatever reason, they're up there but they're still kinda cool,
and have these kinda leanings...Hollywood's a lot like that, too.
Everyone in Hollywood imagines, on one level, that they're kind
of cool, innovative. Most of them are full of shit, but they think
that they're kind of radical and liberal, and there's that kind
of Hollywood liberalism that's kind of nauseating...but it's there,
and that can be pushed a little bit. Armchair liberals...that can
be a good thing, in the right circumstances that can work for you.
Usually it doesn't. That's the death of everything, any change,
that kind of attitude.
JL: There's definitely a political element in SLACKER.
Were you thinking politically when you made it?
RL: Sure, just my own scattered, eccentric politics.
JL: Do you think you're getting more focused with that?
RL: Not really. I'm no more or less focused than I was
three years ago, when I was first making SLACKER. I'm about the
same, even more disgruntled, I guess.
JL: To what extent was it theoretical, and to what extent
gut-level? It seems to be to be pretty gut-level....
RL: Yeah, it is. Gut level based on a lot of theory, but
that's how I guess I work. I read a lot and take it in, but once
I come down to putting it into any form, or any kind of representation,
I quit thinking and just feel, go with the gut, and what comes out
is what you really are.
JL: I really had a sense of the Austin scene. I never would
have imagined that anyone could have captured the drag scene the
way you did.
RL: I guess that's from living around there, being a part
of it but not really being a part of it. I was always a filmmaker.
I didn't think I ever really knew what was going on in Austin. I
just go to a lot of movies, the library, and just walk around a
JL: There's a kind of osmosis.
RL: I was the camera in this movie, just kind of floating
around and hearing things and following people. But I guess I never
felt that connected to it. It seems like I'm most connected now,
whether I like it or not.
JL: There's always been this set of people who live around
the drag. I was like that, I was a drag vendor, wrote for the Rag.
Lived in a house on 32nd street where Janis Joplin used to live,
and when she died, the girls downstairs said her ghost passed through
RL: Great story. I think Janis lived in just about every
JL: I know, I know. That's what I thought, too!
RL: When I lived behind Mad Dog's,. everybody said she'd
lived there for a while.
JL: She may have, she probably lived in a lot of houses.
RL: I think she did. Sounds like she moved around a lot.
Yeah, it's a neat scene, I like it, being there in the shadow of
the University. I moved from the film house, but I still live near
JL: The scene changed a lot from the sixties through the
RL: I'll bet.
JL: People started building everywhere in town.
JL: And the Armadillo World Headquarters came down.
RL: That must have been a nasty period. I think I moved
here on the tail end of the big business corporate everyone-trying-to-get-
rich-off-of-Austin phase. I got here pretty much during the bust
period, or just moving into bust.
JL: I think that Raul's and Club Foot were a reactions
to that, I mean initial reactions.
RL: Yeah, it's like they're reactions, and they end up
getting swallowed up by it, because they always own the lease. You
can have your fun for a while, but if you don't own it, you're out.
JL: How did you decide on the narrative form for SLACKER?
RL: I'd been thinking about it for years and years. It
was one of my first film ideas. I remember I was riding to Houston
at about three in the morning, and I just had this idea. When you're
just starting work in films, then everything's a possibility. Had
I ever gone to film school, I probably never could have thought
of it. But I remember just riding and thinking, "Why can't a film
just go from one thing, to the next, to the next, to the next...."
Cinema is perfect for a structure like that. The film is just totally
real and wide open like that, in the way that people perceive cinema
as real, kind of seemingly real.
JL: There are few films where you could do that and pull
off any kind of continuity.
RL: Yeah, but I think, because I thought about it and then
I actually made the film six years later, that I had this six years
of gestation time, to think, How would this work, how would it be
able to still not...on one level it's very alienating, but on another,
it's kind of engaging. It came down to the neighborhood, or kind
of capturing a group or a feel or an environment, have that be the
star, and all the people coming through it are just momentary travelers.
The star is really that segment of Austin.
JL: You've probably heard this before: I went to see the
film, and I had quite a laugh, I thought it was pretty funny, but
I took my wife to see it, and she cried, and was really depressed.
RL: Wow. I love that.
JL: Completely opposite reactions.
RL: I know, isn't that amazing? I had people who come up
and say, "Yeah, it's so depressing." But I've had people go, "First
time I laughed, but the last time, it was really dark and depressing."
Some people say the opposite, "I thought it was really depressing,
and then, next time I went, I just laughed and thought it was funny,"
and I was like, "Wow, this is really strange...." It really comes
down to what the individual feels about their personal relation
to the kind of life that the film depicts, and how they judge that
way of life.
JL: Yeah, I think it's really a strength of the film, that
it can elicit such diverse responses.
RL: I even see it in myself a little bit. I'll look at
it one time, and I'll just go, "God, I was insane, what was I thinking?"
If I wasn't doing this film, I would have been an assassin or something.
[Laughter] And then other times I can see it, and just laugh and
go "Ah, you know, it's just some crazy ideas." I think it just really
fluctuates with where your mind and body are at that moment. But
I've met people in other towns who say, "Oh yeah, I lived in Austin
for a while. I can't wait til this comes out on video, I'm gonna
rent it and watch it. Any time I ever think I miss Austin I'm gonna
watch it so I'll see what I'm not missing at all." And other people
watch it, and they move to Austin, or they move back. That's about
the gamut right there, isn't it?
JL: The second or third time I saw it at Dobie, I walked
out the door with my friend Joseph, and we walked over to Quack's...
RL: Seemed kinda familiar there...
JL: Did you ever feel out of control?
RL: No, surprisingly, it was very controlled in a certain
way. The making of it, you mean? While we were making it? No, I
felt kind of in control of the chaos, because it was so highly structured,
I knew what was coming next, I knew how it ended, I knew all that,
so it was just... I describe in the book, those two seemingly different
aspects, one completely controlled and structured, and the other,
completely open to anything, how those kind of coexist. But I think
those coexist in everyone, there's a rational side of all of us,
and there's a poetic, inspired, open-to-anything side.
JL: Order and chaos.
RL: Yeah, order and chaos and where they meet.
JL: Strange attractors.
RL: Yeah. They need to coexist a little bit, just to get
to the point where you can enjoy the chaos, and get something out
RL: Yeah, yeah, and that's what SLACKER was the whole way,
it was just a balancing. So I always felt in control, because I
was in control of the whole. As for specifics, they were open enough
for things to change. Like with Gina Lalli, just in what happens
in every scene...she told me this story traveling into India and
hearing...and the smells, it was so vivid, I liked the story so
much, I said "Hey, let's work that in." I was open to that, it was
something I never could have written myself, but it was so, to me,
in the spirit of that scene, that we just did it.
JL: You were saying that you would write sample dialog....
RL: Yeah, I'd say here's the scene, and we would work through
it. Sometimes it was really close to what I wrote, and then sometimes
it would just become something else entirely, but I was there to
go, "Yeah, yeah! Better, better! Write that down, good!" I like
working that way, it's really collaborative...the nuts and bolts
of what the film is, its structure, what it's about, you have to
feel very deeply, kind of be in love with that. But from then on,
film's very much a collaborative medium, you're capturing life,
so you can't try to control it, you just have to get in harmony
with it, get in touch with it, go with that energy, and it returns
to where you're alone in an editing room with a couple of other
people, and you're back to total control over the image and the
sound and what you can do with it, and how you can structure and
control that. So it kind of comes in full cycle.
JL: Did you carry any of the actors forward to this new
film, or are you doing any kind of repertory thing?
RL: No, they're so much younger. These are high school
kids, so no one in SLACKER really qualifies. They're all too old.
JL: I assume you read Generation X? There's a lot of people
using that term like they use "slacker," to describe or to stereotype
a set of people. The other description for the Generation X bunch
is "twenty-nothing," I've heard people describe themselves that
way...But in SLACKER, you had all ages.
RL: I don't know where it all came down to twenty-something.
We had a lot of people in their thirties and beyond, quite a few.
When you think of it after the fact, they kind of narrowed it down
to -- what? maybe 75% of the people were in their twenties, but
it was never meant to be seen as exclusively that.
JL: Yeah, I guess Generation X is more focused on a particular
RL: Doug's book is really about that, that's how he was
thinking, that's what he set up to capture. He thinks in a big generational
way. SLACKER's really specific to those people, and all the stuff
about twenty-something and GenX, that came much later.
JL: You weren't thinking that way.
RL: No, you try not to think that way. You want to give
people their room and their credit, give them their space. I never
really got that there was much of a difference. The older people
in the movie aren't any different than the people in their twenties.
The old anarchist guy, he might as well be 21. He's a little wiser,
more experienced...there is a kind of continuity there. He's a little
different, but the attitude was never much different. The guy who
comes out of Quack's, Mars landing and all that...I was always thinking
it was a younger person, but he came in for an audition, I looked
at him, and I said no, it's him. Because to be this paranoid and
to have this much information and really believe it, it really takes
that extra decade or two. When you're young, if you're 21 and you're
thinking like that, it's kinda fun, right? As you get older, and
you pile on more, it would be a little more real, that much more
of it. So the age is important there, that couldn't have been a
younger person doing that, it had to be someone older, just like
the old anarchist. Age is weird, that's why I think I really wanted
to do this teenage movie, because I was really interested in who
I was at ages 14 through 17, and what I was thinking. There's a
real continuity between that and who I am now. It's those same rebellious
feelings, and knowing that everything is screwed up, you just kinda
JL: When you're a teenager, you have the sense that everything's
screwed up, but then one of two things happens, either it gets buried,
or you learn more.
RL: Yeah, you either start lying to yourself, and believing
the lies, or you go with it, and try to transform that somehow in
your own way. It's dangerous territory, but that's what you have
to head into, if you're really going to get anywhere. In certain
people I see ones who are going to challenge and create something
new, and others who are just going to go along, kind of stay with
the pack, with all the rewards of being part of a group.
JL: Do you ever have the sense, in talking to groups of
people that have seen SLACKER, that it's made some fundamental change
in their perception?
RL: I like to think in a good way, though there's certain
people who say it kind of justifies a time period in someone's life.
Some say hey, that's great, because it validates a real thing that
no one seems to acknowledge, that it's something you do go through.
It's almost like they can show their parents, and they can go, hey,
this is how I live, and this is what we do. It's not shiftless and
unproductive, it's something else. I think before it was tangibly
in some form some thing that was out there that people complain
about. I guess parents' relations with their kids who are in college
or just out of college, and haven't really got that manager's job
at the local burger stand or whatever, and they're busting the 23
year old's balls, saying, "Hey, what're you gonna do...." "Hey,
man, I'm just figuring things out, I'm gonna hang on for a while."
I would feel great if that became not such a bad thing again, to
just kind of drift and find yourself.
JL: It's probably gonna have to be, because there's not
going to be any jobs to plug the guy into.
RL: I know, that's the bottom line to all of it. I remember
I did a talk show on tv, it was me and Doug Coupland. And this girl
called in and said, "I don't know what these guys are talking about;
I'm at the University of Michigan, and there's 40,000 of us busting
our butts studying," and I was thinking, "Great, and there'll be
a telemarketing job when you get through busting your butt studying."
You'll have a telemarketing job waiting for you, if you want that...there's
nothing else out there, so hey, have at it. You don't know that
until you get out of school, if you buy the whole line. You don't
really know that, until you go, hey, there really isn't room for
us in this, it's not set up that I prosper.
JL: There's a lot of people out of work, who don't have
any money at all.
RL: Yeah, at all. And it's worse now, only getting worse.
We're gonna go through some tough times, but I'm kinda optimistic
about the 90s. All that, the poverty, and the people who are totally
out of it, is gonna necessitate some kind of change, on some level.
JL: For a while I thought that apathy was too great, but
apathy seems to be waning.
RL: I don't know if people are any more apathetic. The
people at the bottom of the economic spectrum aren't really opposed
to each other like the controlling divide-and-conquerors would like
to think. Once so many people realize that they're really all on
the same side and fighting for the same thing...
JL: That's kind of an empowering thing...
RL: ...then you have a large group that can effect some
JL: We sound like political organizers.
RL: Yeah, yeah. That I'm not, never. I don't have much
faith in that, either. It doesn't need to get too organized, it
just needs to get ... I have a great trust that if those feelings
are out there, the will of the people can ultimately come through.
JL: : It's kind of an anarchic thing, it seemed to me,
and I was looking at this about ten or fifteen years ago, that there
were forces that would develop in the general population, where
things would reach a certain critical mass, and it didn't matter
what the government did, it didn't matter what the politicians did,
something would happen and it would happen because people had a
feeling that it needed to happen.
JL: And as people begin to understand that they have that
power, you can override apathy with some sense of empowerment.
RL: If you have enough people feeling a certain way, I
always thing that will happen.
JL: And if you've worked for the government, as I have,
you begin to realize that government is not much of a solution for
JL: Are you happy with the business end of filmmaking now?
With SLACKER, obviously you were having to worry about funding.
RL: Yeah, that was a total pain, because I didn't have
any money. But with that lack of cash was a certain freedom, that
you feel even as a poor person or a rich person, you have a certain
freedom, but in between it's hell. Usually a felt kind of in between,
like I had enough money to make it, but not really enough.
JL: Do have major studio backing for "Dazed and Confused"?
RL: Yeah, we're doing it for Universal, but it's there
lowest-budget movie in four years, so it's not enough to do it right,
it's just enough to, like, here, go make your stupid little weird
movie, and it's like, okay [laughs].... And then they just squeeze
it out of you from there.
JL: You turned a profit, you can do it again!
RL: Right! Here, here's how much you have and it's not
enough, and have at it, good luck!
JL: Are you going to get the rights to Led Zeppelin's "Dazed
and Confused"? I wondered if you lifted that form the Led Zeppelin
RL: Yeah, you can use titles. At first it was just kind
of a joke. I didn't have another title, I had others, but nothing
that captured something...
JL: It sounds pretty apt to me [laughter].
RL: Yeah, SLACKER, that name kind of came up in production,
and I remember committing to it...
JL: I finally looked it up in the dictionary yesterday,
I think it fits.
RL: Oh, yeah, it definitely does.
JL: Do you think you want to continue working with big
RL: It depends on the film. I always knew that for this
film, there was no other way, but I have a lot of SLACKER-type films
I still want to do, low budget. I'll have absolutely no one working
above me, where I can do whatever I want. Once you take money from
somebody, that kind of ends...but if you do a certain few things,
you can still get that kind of creative freedom, which I felt I
had on this film, I was kind of smart about it. Being so low budget
helped. I didn't have executives looking over my shoulder the whole
time. I got away with everything I wanted to get away with. [Laughs]
Certain films, yeah, you need it, but for certain films, it'd be
the death of it, to have a studio behind it.
JL: I asked you about the actors a while ago, did you select
the actors the same way you did for SLACKER?
RL: In a certain way, yeah...there's professionals, but
I'd still say they're selected in the same way. We went through
thousands of actors, and I met the ones that seemed like cool, authentic
people that just happened to be actors, too. Then we ended up with
a lot of kids who had never acted before, too.
JL: From around Austin?
RL: Four or five from here, the major ones, Two of the
biggest ones were from here. They're young kids, eighth graders
going into high school, but they're both just real natural. I met
a lot of interesting young actors. They were excited, because they're
not used to being treated like an artist. You're an actor, and the
director says hey, say this line, and do it like this, and don't
ask questions. But I would say, So what do you think? What would
you be thinking here? Really involving them in the whole process,
making it real....
JL: But you were trained as an actor yourself?
RL: Yeah, yeah, I trained as an actor, so I know how I
like to work.
JL: That reminds me, I'm supposed to ask you whether you
memorized that monolog that you spoke in the film...?
RL: Sure! I wrote it, then rehearsed it alone, filmed it
alone...the camera was mounted on the hood, I turned it on, the
clapper board went down. I only did two takes, and used the second
JL: I didn't see the cab driver in the book.
RL: Oh, Rudy? Yeah, we couldn't find him for a long time.
But we've recently found him.
JL: Yeah, he was pretty good. He didn't bat an eye.
RL: I wish we could have found him. But he quit working
for Roy's, and we lost track of him.
JL: SLACKERS do tend to drift.
RL: Yeah, a hundred people over a couple of years means
major address changes and drifting.
to Part Two