Richard Linklater: The director on the humour in Raging Bull, rearing chickens, and why the older he gets, the less he cares

The director's films include 'Dazed and Confused', 'Me and Orson Welles' and the trilogy 'Before Sunrise', 'Before Sunset' and 'Before Midnight'

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The Independent Online

You need motivation. I was OK at school, then I got worse I had a high aptitude and low grades, which was frustrating for everyone who knew me. They kept saying, "You're smart; why are you doing so poorly?" I was always thinking of other things.

Up until my early twenties, I wanted to be a novelist or a playwright I feel I've gone through the world with a novelist's mentality, writing everything down, remembering things, details. But by 22, I realised film was my medium. Sitting alone at a desk wouldn't have done it for me. I like being part of an artistic troupe, a collaborator.

I saw 'Raging Bull' at the perfect time for me It was when I was at college and starting to think about movies. It blew my mind. It was psychological, beautiful, poetic, brutal; all those things in one movie. And it was funny, too. Scorsese is underestimated for his humour. It opened my mind to what a film could do.

Hollywood is a dream factory I loved that feeling as a kid: watching a movie and getting so lost in it that when the lights came up, I forgot my name. We all love to be lost in those dreams, but even the most realistic movies – like, I guess, the ones I make – can still have elements of that, and that's why film is such a powerful medium.

I had wanted to make 'Boyhood' for a long time, but I wasn't sure film was the best medium Making a film that spanned 12 years, the characters ageing before our eyes, was impractical, a crazy idea. I thought I might have to write it as a book.

All innovation comes out of problem-solving Movies about kids tend to focus on, say, that one special summer; that one particular event; that one time you were visited by an alien. They don't cover a lot of ground, in other words. That's why Boyhood spans 12 years: because we took 12 years to film it.

My daughter Lorelei cast herself, pretty much Once she realised there was a part for a girl her age, she was going to play it. She was a natural and, from my perspective, very practical. Actors have busy schedules; you don't always know where they're going to be. I always knew where Lorelei was.

Life is very normal I still live in Austin, Texas, with my wife and three daughters. You wouldn't know I had a film opening on a particular weekend if you joined us for dinner that night. At home we don't so much focus on what I do.

I have an organic farm We grow things, and eat what we grow. We have chickens, ducks. It's nice.

I've been a vegetarian since my twenties Back then, I started thinking about my body in a certain way. I'm 54 now, and I still do. You have to take care of yourself.

In my other life, I'm an architect I'm always building extra little things on my land. I spend a lot of time reading and writing, so it's good to do something different, to be out in the open.

There are benefits to ageing The older you get, the less you care. You start to filter out what's not important. If people ask me to come to some event, I want to know if it's going to be fun, or if it's important. If it's neither, I'm not going. Once you get past a certain age, you should be allowed to say no. Why? Time passes quicker the older you get.

Richard Linklater is a director whose films include 'Dazed and Confused', 'Me and Orson Welles' and the trilogy 'Before Sunrise', 'Before Sunset' and 'Before Midnight'. 'Boyhood' is out on DVD on 19 January

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