By Patrick McDonald – Hollywood Chicago – 03.28.16
CHICAGO – There are two exclamation points behind the new Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) film, “Everybody Wants Some!!,” and that could also express the exclamation energy of the cast. Will Brittain, Tyler Hoechlin and Blake Jenner portray college students before the new fall semester in 1980.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is a quasi-sequel to Linklater’s popular “Dazed and Confused” film of 1993. It possesses the same nostalgia, the same styles/attitudes, and the same spirit as “DandC,” and it is set four years after the events of that film – except now it’s a Texas college instead of a Texas high school. For persons who grew up in that era, it will be a warm look back, and for everyone else it will evoke laughs on how we all used to live, and what we used to wear while we were living without Facebook.
The three young stars of “Everybody Wants Some!!,” Will Brittain, Tyler Hoechlin and Blake Jenner, came through Chicago on a promotional tour, and HollywoodChicago – through an interviewer who actually lived the era depicted in the film – was there to grill them.
HollywoodChicago.com: Living in another time can be tricky, especially since us geezers are around to remember exactly what it was like. What was your best resource for pretending you lived in 1980?
All: Richard Linklater!
Blake Jenner: The second week out there he gave us a ton of music to get us into the mindset of the era, that was first.
Will Brittain: Basically, if we did something that didn’t fit, he would just say ‘naw, we didn’t do that.’
Tyler Hoechlin: He would even let us get away with something when we weren’t filming. If we’d high five after a good take, he’d say, ‘they didn’t do that.’ [laughs] It was so specific. He said for example, ‘I didn’t see the first high five until 1982.’
Brittain: He’d also say things that would trip us out, like ‘the 1980s didn’t become the ‘80s until around 1982.’ And I’d think, what does that even mean? [laughs]
HollywoodChicago.com: You are all depicting college baseball players in the film. Which of you had the least actual baseball experience? What is the key to looking like you’re a college level baseball player?
Jenner: I hadn’t played that much before, and it was all about practicing with the University of Texas coaches. It’s takes some expert to look at me pitching a ball and saying, ‘we have to find the mother f**ker in you, boy!’ [laughs].
Hoechlin: I played in college, so it wasn’t that much a stretch. But I would say the main thing for guys who hadn’t played before it’s just one word – swagger. If you have swagger on the field, and look like you know how to play, that’s 90% of it.
HollywoodChicago.com: What about using the baseball equipment from that era?
Brittain: I know the guy who portrayed the catcher – Temple Baker – went through four of the old catcher’s mitts, they kept falling apart.
HollywoodChicago.com: Will, since you began in independent films, which film can you describe as your breakthrough, and how did it affect your career after it was done?
Brittain: The film ‘A Teacher’  was definitely my breakthrough, because that film went to the Sundance Film Festival. It launched everything – I got representation in Los Angeles, and I moved out there. It was my baptism into the whole festival circuit, LA and everything else in the business.
HollywoodChicago.com: Tyler, one of your famous early roles was opposite Tom Hanks and Paul Newman in ‘Road to Perdition.’ Now that you’re a little older to appreciate it, what do you think you learned about being a movie star after being around two of the biggest in movie history?
Hoechlin: A lot older now. [laughs] Basically, it was about how to be a professional. I of course observed their acting on set, but it was about the way they carried themselves and treated people that struck me the most. They were just two genuinely great human beings, I never felt either of them were separate from us, despite being who they were.
They were just focused and professional, and always included everyone in what they were doing, including the crew. They were simply always high level masters, and taught me as a kid actor never to be an a*shole to anybody, because it would be very tough to get past where they are.
HollywoodChicago.com: Blake, you were “discovered” through the ‘Glee Project’ reality series, and then worked your way onto a regular spot on the main show. How did that entire experience prepare you for the rest of show business? Jenner: It’s about preparation. On this project, for example, we had time to rehearse and prepare. On ‘Glee,’ it was close to zero time to prepare, so I had to ready to think on my feet. There were days on that show where I had to go in and record a song, then I had to rehearse the dance for that song, and then I had to go and shoot a separate scene. That would be one day. So yeah, it was about the value of time and being prepared, and not to freak out.
HollywoodChicago.com: Back to everyone. The clothing was different back then. What was the weirdest piece of 1980 clothing that you wore, that you couldn’t imagine anyone wearing seriously?
Jenner: The cut-off jean short shorts. I don’t tan on my upper thighs, so when I first wore those I look like I was walking on two cans of milk. [laughs]
Hoechlin: The one I can’t imagine anyone taking seriously, but was one of my favorites, was the mesh football jersey top, paired with a really short pair of athletic shorts. I actually switched this costume to another day, because I wanted full belly exposure when I was sitting on the couch. [laughs] I wanted to see how high I could get that shirt up.
Brittain: The Daisy Dukes, definitely. Those cut-off short shorts are a bit much.
HollywoodChicago.com: Will, Who was the person that was most influential for you when you first started acting, and what is the best piece of performance advice they gave you?
Brittain: I did a play called ‘Our Town’ at the University of Texas, and portrayed George Gibbs in it. I remember my director Marie Brown came up to me – and this was a really beautiful scene where George lays flowers on a grave – and told me not to work myself into an emotional frenzy every time, even though I wanted to do it every time.
So she said, if you want to do it like that, than make sure that every time you ARE doing it like that. That stuck with me, because in the play that’s a powerful moment. I really wanted to honor that part of the story, and I keep that in mind in general. If I’m going to go for it, I’ve got to truly go for it.
HollywoodChicago.com: Tyler, you did two multi-season runs on TV series [“7th Heaven,” “Teen Wolf”], playing two different characters. At what point during those runs do you think you begin to understand a character. which makes playing him that much easier?
HollywoodChicago.com: I assume in both series you got a script that would focus more on your character. What is your process once that happened?Hoechlin: When you’re in the first season, you’re constantly feeling it out. But around the second season, it rushes back to you, and makes it that much easier to start again. For me, a couple episodes into the second season, I would think I know who this guy is, now it’s time to try and find more. What else can I find out?
Hoechlin: Yeah, ‘7th Heaven’ was a big ensemble cast, so everyone would get a turn. Basically, I’d get a script that focused on my character and think, ‘Oh, I’m working every day this week.’ The mindset was I’ve got more to do, so I had to focus. In ‘7th Heaven,’ more than ‘Teen Wolf,’ was that I got to learn more about my character. In ‘Teen Wolf,’ I’d always get a new arc for that character every season, which was discovery for me.
HollywoodChicago.com: Blake, it was reported that you’re on the short list to portray the young Han Solo in another ‘Star Wars’ spinoff. What characteristic of Han is most like you, and would you kiss a Wookie to get the part?
Jenner: Dude, I’d go down on a Wookie to get the part. [laughs]
Hoechlin: Quote of the day!
Jenner: I can’t talk too much about this, but one thing I will say is that Han will presumably be in his origin phase, and we most likely will get to see the development of his classic characteristics. What made him will be interesting to explore, especially in who broke his heart and made him jaded and sarcastic.
HollywoodChicago.com: Finally for everybody, what do you appreciate about living in the current day, now that you all took a trip back to 1980?
HollywoodChicago.com: Do you mean better genetics?
Jenner: No, the blue ‘jeans’ of now. [laughs]