Considered the spiritual sequel to cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993), Hoechlin—a former college baseball player himself—joins a band of beer- drinking, ‘stache-sporting teammates of a collegiate baseball squad in 1980s Texas as they enjoy the last few days of summer before classes begin.
From his days as a blissfully ignorant 13-year-old in Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition, to spending three weeks rehearsing on Richard Linklater’s ranch, to his current work with James Foley on the second and third installments from the Grey trilogy—Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed—Hoechlin has smartly picked up a few things along the way. We spoke to the young actor on the eve of the U.S. release of Everybody Wants Some!!.
Was there anything you did to prepare yourself for the role, besides growing the amazing cookie duster?
It was really funny, I came home from shooting and my dad hadn’t seen me since I had [the mustache] and I opened the door on Thanksgiving and he looked at me and was like “nope, nope, nope.” He said it felt like he was looking in a mirror. But mentally, [I] was going back and recalling those [baseball-playing] days and trying to remember what the vibe was like with the guys and what the mindset was and allowing that to be molded by Rick [Linklater’s] recollection.
Linklater’s name alone holds its own merit but what about this script made you jump at the opportunity?
A lot of sports movies—in my personal opinion—make the mistake of focusing too much on the actual game or the stuff on the field. If you want to watch a game, you watch a game. That’s where the drama really is, but when the game is playing out on-screen, you know it’s scripted and the outcome is determined. The drama of that moment is not quite the experience you get when you watch a real game. So, to me, the most interesting and fascinating thing was the relationship between the guys.
In Dazed and Confused the music played a huge role in the film. Was that the case for this film?
Rick put together a playlist for us. He’d say, “these are the songs different guys would’ve been into. Find the one you think your guy would have been into.” That’s the brilliant thing about Rick. He doesn’t necessarily tell you “this is what you are.” He allows you to contribute what comes to your mind, your thoughts, and how you see this guy.
Is there one moment in the past you think back to and reminisce over?
I count my blessings knowing I have a couple of those. But with this project, on our last night, we went back to Rick’s ranch and just had a night out there. It was this crazy thing of “going home” before going home, a “last day of camp” sort of thing. There was storytelling and reminiscing about all the times we had on set and during rehearsal, everything. It’s been almost a year-and-a-half now and we all still have a text chain that goes off daily. Definitely one of those “count your blessings” moments, having made so many friends on one project.