Richard Linklater Has an Idea for a TV Show and a New Script Set in Texas About ‘Demagoguery’

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As with so many conversations with and about filmmaker Richard Linklater, the talk turned to Texas.

Deep in production on a film elsewhere and with the East Coast-set “Last Flag Flying” slated to premiere in the fall, Linklater touched on future projects while speaking to the Television Critics Association on Sunday.

While speaking about the upcoming PBS American Masters documentary “Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny,” Linklater referenced a recent New Yorker article about the history of Texas-based productions. Linklater explained that he has an idea percolating that may bring him back to making another film in his home state.

“I have a script I’m working on now that touches into Texas. It’s a true story that’ll be somewhere down the line that touches on demagoguery, a kind of con man, let’s say. To me, that’s apt for our times,” Linklater said.

While there’s been a greater conversation coming from high-profile directors recently about the nature of distribution, Linklater took time to single out one of his newest collaborators.

“I’m a proud member of the film community that can be a lot of shifting things to all of us,” Linklater said. “‘Last Flag Flying’ is Amazon Studios, but it’s pretty indie to me.”

Whether that project leads to him making the jump to television, it’s unclear.

“I’ve been pretty slow on the TV thing,” he admitted. “I have a lot of movies I want to do.”

But while Linklater said that while he’s got a backlog of movie ideas, he’s not opposed to entering the TV world.

“I have a couple ideas — one in particular, of a really longform story that’s so many hours, that it will exist as a TV program, hopefully a series at some point in the future,” Linklater said. “But I look at it as one big story to tell. I’m thankful we’re in this great era where you can tell five-hour, eight-hour, 40-hour longform storytelling.”

Linklater added that he has been “studying” how audiences perceive stories in film vs. TV.

“I look forward when [this project] comes together, using that medium and its slight differences to tell a certain kind of story that can only be told in that medium.”

Linklater’s only major TV credit to this point appears to be directing the early Hulu series “Up to Speed,” a historical travel series starring Timothy “Speed” Levitch.

Linklater joined via satellite from Pittsburgh, where he’s currently in production on “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” Due out via Annapurna in 2018 and starring Cate Blanchett and Kristen Wiig, Linklater explained that the new film is about halfway finished.

“Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny” premieres September 1 on PBS.