Q: Why is it that your movies are so verbally driven? Almost all of them are built around conversation and speech. Do you see language and verbal expression as the place where we really see who people are?
Linklater : Well, I always thought so. If you look at the world around you, we define ourselves more by speech. I remember Sam Fuller saying, “You don’t talk about things. You show it.” And I said, “He’s right. That is cinema.” But when I turned on the camera, it really was about people talking. That was the world I had experienced. I hadn’t been to a war. I hadn’t been a crime reporter. I was always intrigued by what people said, what that meant about what they were saying, and what that betrayed about them—regardless of whether what they were saying made any sense or not. I had done that first film [It’s Impossible to Learn to Plough by Reading Books] that’s very much a kind of structural thing that was about a lack of communication. And in Slacker I wanted a world where the interior was brought forth—kind of like in theater. That’s just the way it came out once I really started to do stuff that felt personal to me. It was people just rapping, talking a lot, with not much going on, technically speaking. It wasn’t really conscious. I’m not that verbal. I’m more of an observer than a talker. So I was as surprised as anybody, really, that that’s how it came out.