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Have You Heard of Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke's 'Untitled 12-Year Project'?

It might be coming out in 2014 or 2015

linklater-hawke-12-year-projectSo you thought the Before franchise was fascinating, with Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy getting together every nine years to make a sequel to what started with Before Sunrise in 1995, continued with Before Sunset in 2004 and now back again with Before Midnight in theaters right now. Well, it looks like Hawke and Linklater have something even more interesting up their sleeves and it's taken eleven years to make with one more to go.

Many have directed me to Ethan Hawke's recent Reddit AMA, telling me how fascinating Hawke was and how open with his answers he turned out to be. It is a great read, but one part stuck out for me more than the rest when one questioner asked about a film called Boyhood, which began filming in 2002 and is listed on IMDb as the Untitled 12-Year Project.

Here's Hawke's answer:

First up, I guess I should tell people what BOYHOOD is. It's a project also known as THE TWELVE YEAR PROJECT; Richard Linklater and I have made a short film every year for the last 11 years, one more to go, that follows the development of a young boy from age 6 to 18. I play the father, and it's Tolstoy-esque in scope. I thought the BEFORE series was the most unique thing I would ever be a part of, but Rick has engaged me in something even more strange. Doing a scene with a young boy at the age of 7 when he talks about why do raccoons die, and at the age of 12 when he talks about video games, and 17 when he asks me about girls, and have it be the same actor - to watch his voice and body morph - it's a little bit like timelapse photography of a human being. I can't wait for people to see it.

Next year, he will graduate high school and we will finish the film. It will probably come out in 2 years.

Linklater recently spoke with Collider about the project, which they refer to as Growing Up and Linklater suggests it may come out next year. As for the length, he says, "It's one feature film. It'll be a little longer, like over two hours, but it's not five hours or eight hours. It's feature length."

Along with Hawke playing the father, Patricia Arquette plays his ex-wife with Ellar Coltrane (credited as Ellar Salmon) playing their son whose life we will follow from first grade to his high school graduation.

Hawke also spoke about the film back in 2010 with AICN saying at the time, "I've seen the first cut of the first seven years, and it's definitely one of the most interesting things I have ever been a part of... About 20 minutes, your eyes just start tearing up and you don't even know why. It's about the nature of time and how it's crashing into us all."

Linklater has said he'd adapt the narrative each year based on what is going on in Coltrane's life and Hawke told AICN of one such example:

"There's even this one little scene that he shot -- I don't want to ruin the movie for people -- but where the kid is just in line to get his book signed, the last 'Harry Potter' book that came out. It's almost like a documentary. Richard filmed it. He just got the actor in it and he's just waiting his turn in line with all of these kids dressed up like Harry Potter. By the time the movie comes out, that is going to be so funny and so interesting and so impossible to recreate."

I'd actually never heard of the project, but now I'm 100% invested and will be tracking it like a hawk. Searching around I found the following Q&A with Hawke and Linklater from last year discussing the project where Linklater says he's been trying to get IMDb to take it off their site.

SPECIAL: Check out our map of all the locations in Before Midnight right here.

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  • http://www.smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    Wow, sounds fascinating. Somewhat similar to the 'Up' series (which Ebert was such a proponent of) but in a much more focused way.

  • Chris Etrata

    Did they skip a year? Because this year should have concluded production.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      They are going to shoot the final year this year.

      • Chris Etrata

        No, I read that there were finishing shooting next year.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

          No, finishing the shoot this year. The twelfth year. Am I missing something?

          • Chris Etrata

            Before this goes into an arguement and you accuse me of trolling, here's the line.

            Next year, he will graduate high school and we will finish the film. It will probably come out in 2 years.

            Next year is 2014 which is not this year.

            • http://www.smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

              You are talking about separate things.
              Chris, the film will come out in 2 years but next year will be the last year of shooting, then probably a year for post production, editing, etc.

              • Chris Etrata

                Brad clearly said finishing shooting this year.

  • Good Grief

    I'm a little late to the party but two nights ago I finally watched "Before Sunrise" and last night I watched "Before Sunset." I need to think about it a bit more but they are definitely in my top twenty films of all time, if not my top ten.
    Now knowing this project is around the corner, I'm very excited. Linklater and Hawke seem to capture something wonderful in their work together. I'm excited to think that the it won't all end with "Before Midnight" and that we'll see something else ambitious form them.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    I actually have heard of this project before. I think it was about two years ago when I first read about it and thought it sounded great. I kept waiting for them to reveal more details about it. It's nice to finally hear something new about it. The lack of coverage had me worried.

  • Vince O.

    I forgot this project existed (but to be fair, it's being a low-key on/off production for 12 years). Extremely intrigued in how this will turn out, but definitely want to go in knowing nothing. The less I know about this project until it releases, the better. Let's keep the mystery alive.

  • http://www.filmofilia.com Yaz Rabadi

    This sounds pretty cool. I think I heard of something similar in the past - a documentary... Where they came back to the same group of kids years later and saw how they had changed etc... Well known... Name escapes me.

  • Kyle Lucas

    @Yaz it's called the 'Up Series,' and has been going on for quite a few decades, and it is quite interesting.

    As for this project, I always forget they're doing it until I read an article like this every year or so. I'm excited that it may finally come out.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    I had heard about this before, but reading this article just renewed my excitement.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    this film sounds amazing, i like anything like that, fantastic commitment too

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/sofasobad/ sofasobad

    It's a very interesting idea. Michael Winterbottom made a film over five years, about how a family copes while the father is in prison, and how the children and their relationships change over time. The kids involved were actually siblings. It's called Everyday, and was released last year.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/SirTrey/ Sir Trey

    Every so often I'd look on Wikipedia to see what was on the docket for future years, and I remember a few years back this was the only film listed in "2014 and beyond"...seemed like a very interesting concept. It's been on and off Wikipedia since and I've semi-followed it, will be very curious to see how things finally turn out.

  • Graeme Harwell

    Two more years? Wow! I've been waiting for this movie for a good 6 years.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

    I heard about this movie on a odd Toptenz list. It always seemed interesting to me.
    Here's the link: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-movies-that-took-forever-to-make.php

  • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

    I actually heard of this film a few years ago, as IMDB has had the page up for the film for quite some time now, as Linklater makes evident in the video. I was interested in the film from the very beginning, and as it now approaches finishing, I am slowly becoming more and more interested. I've also started to take a real liking to Linklater's films, between Dazed and Confused and the Before trilogy. He's become one of my favorite directors, and I'll eagerly be anticipating anything else that he does next.

    • dslacker

      Linklater is one amazing director - completely independent but his films are inexpensively made and I'm guessing wind up making a few dollars at the box office. His record is so good, his stuff gets released. Cinema would be a lot better if there were more like him, but, really, no one else is like him. When Hawke does a Linklater film, he's a lot better than when he tries something of his own.