Opening this weekend, in limited release, is director Richard Linklater’s (Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Before Sunrise) new film Bernie. The dark comedy is based on a true story and stars Jack Black as an assistant funeral director of a small Texas town who wooed and then murdered a cantankerous, affluent widow. Black is surrounded by a terrific supporting cast that includes Shirley MacLaine as said widow and Matthew McConaughey as the one person in town who suspects Bernie of wrongdoing. While I’ve been less than impressed with Black’s recent film choices, I thought his work in Bernie was incredible and it’ll remind you that when he has the right material, he’s a great actor. For more on the film, here’s seven clips.
Last week I got to sit down with Richard Linklater for an extended video interview. We talked about putting Bernie together, how the industry has changed over the past decade, casting, his favorite movies, Woody Allen, how the script changes in rehearsal but not as much on set, what’s the status of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset on Blu-ray, and if we’ll see another chapter in the series. Hit the jump to watch.
- It’s an odd script, but the involvement of Black, MacLaine, and McConaughey helped get Bernie in production.
- 1:20 – Says the industry has shifted. In the early 90s, Bernie might have been financed by a studio rather than a low-budget independent production.
- 2:30 – Likes Some Came Running, Woody Allen, and Sterling Hayden when asked about favorite movie/director/actor.
- 3:40 – Says Crimes and Misdemeanors, Radio Days, and Match Point as some of his favorite Woody Allen movies.
- 4:30 – He does make changes in rehearsal, but then the script is pretty much locked in.
- 5:30 – He’d like to do 50 takes if budget allowed, but usually finds 8-10 takes to be enough.
- 6:30 – Talks about how great Black is as Bernie.
- 7:50 – Before Sunrise and Before Sunset aren’t on Blu-ray yet, but there may be someday.
- 8:30 – Updates on the status of a sequel to Before Sunset.
“It’s about that time. We didn’t know how it would go. Once you do a second, it makes the third more real. “Well, you did it once. Why wouldn’t you do it again?” We sort of rebelled against that. But then we realized… You joke about it for five years, and talk about it. But we’re hitting that same area where it is about that time. We have for the last year, when we’re all in the same town, we meet about it. We trade notes. I bet there’s something to say there about where they are in their lives. I feel like there’s a film in our future… There’s definitely a desire there.”