Writer-director Richard Linklater and actor Glen Powell joined Deadline’s Studio at SXSW to discuss their new Netflix animated feature, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood.
“I thought of that fantasy I had of being recruited,” says Linklater, “it’s almost like a Harry Potter thing… every kid has that fantasy that maybe you’re special, you have some role to play in the world that could be helpful.”
“It’s the best part about a Richard Linklater movie,” says Powell, “it’s magical realism, it’s you sending a kid to space. It’s straight from his imagination.”
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is inspired by a fantasy Linklater had when he was growing up in Houston, Texas during the Apollo missions. The film follows Stan, a young boy who is recruited by NASA to go on a top-secret trip to the moon before the launch of Apollo 11 while still living his regular life in Houston.
Powell plays one of the NASA agents sent to recruit Stan for this mission. “The character I play in the movie,” says Powell, “I build the capsule too small and the only person we can put inside of it is this kid, which is funny as hell.”
As Linklater thought back on his experience as a child, he began to realize what an incredible moment in history that was. “I can’t really think of an event now that would really unify us all in a positive way,” he says. “When there’s a disaster or something horrible happens, we’re all kind of joined in it.”
“There’s like this collective moment,” says Powell, “everybody sharing a part in this event. They’re all sitting around this TV, they’re all watching this really cool thing… I don’t know if you would have that anymore.”
“When was the last time there was a positive event,” says Linklater, “that wasn’t kind of nationalistic that we could all, six hundred million people around the world, could watch and go ‘what an achievement, look at what we are capable of.'”
Click the video above to watch the entire discussion.
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