Usually when characters age in movies, they’re covered with makeup and outfitted with prosthetics – or directors use different actors as the character ages. But in the new film Boyhood, none of that is necessary.
The film takes place over the course of 12 years, and it was shot over the course of 12 years. So we watch the actors getting older for real, which gives their characters a sense of authenticity.
Director Richard Linklater told what it was like to cast a 6 year-old boy (Ellar Coltrane) not knowing who he would become:
"It was a huge leap. I just went with a kid who seemed kind of the most interesting. I liked the way his mind worked — he was a little mysterious and sensitive and very thoughtful. He was cut from no ordinary cloth. He was homeschooled and his parents were artists and I thought, "Well, that’s cool, there’ll be some family support for this undertaking. It will be a fun thing to do in his life."
So I think I had the family support but as far as he goes, you kind of have to admit that your main collaborator here has a really unknown future. But I would have each year to incrementally adjust and maybe go toward who he was becoming. That was sort of the design of the movie.”
Boyhood .gif of Ellar Coltrane via CBC