December 18, 2018

Lessons in Persistence from Linklater and ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’

The trailer for director Richard Linklater's latest film, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, dropped this morning to fans' delight.

Based on a popular 2012 comedy novel by Maria Semple, the film will follow Bernadette Fox, who is an architect, mother, and agoraphobe. When she vanishes abruptly before a family trip to Antarctica, her loved ones set out to find her. Cate Blanchett will play the titular character. The supporting cast includes a bevy of great talent, including Billy Crudup as her husband and Emma Nelson as daughter Bee, along with Kristen Wiig, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao, and Laurence Fishburne. Annapurna Pictures is releasing.

Linklater has been circling this property since way back in 2015, when Annapurna already had an adaptation from writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber ready to go. At the time, Linklater himself was flying high from the success of Boyhood. Blanchett got attached to the project in November 2015, while Wiig didn't join until early last year.

There's a name for what happens to popular projects who fester for years in stagnancy, and that name is development hell. Even a script from a smash-hit intellectual property like Semple's original book, with a talented director and internationally known actors attached, can sit on the shelf for years and years. Writers, actors, and directors get attached, leave or are replaced, or executives and studios start to worry about money.

Linklater is known as a fairly persistent director who cares about telling emotional, honest stories that might not always be the most commercial. Boyhood is a particular testament to that perseverance, especially since it famously took 12 years to shoot. A career working on movies of this kind has likely taught him a unique brand of patience and tenacity that we as creators would do well to imitate.

It's also important that Linklater has found producers and executives who believe both in his work and in the material, and they are willing to stick around and see a project like this through to its completion. So learn from his example, and gather a dedicated team who will fight for your project, no matter the odds.

The movie will hit theaters on March 22, 2019. Watch the trailer below, and let us know what you think!

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I cannot wait!

December 18, 2018 at 3:02PM

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Jason Hellerman
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