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Blake Jenner Explains Why ‘Everybody Wants Some’ is the College Experience He Never Had

Blake chatted with Austin Way about Everybody Wants Some below you can read the interview.

 

What was it like to work with Linklater?
BJ: It was everything you think it could be, plus a million times more. He was very nurturing from the get-go. He cared about the authenticity of the film, not just the look and feel of it but the camaraderie between all the guys. We were living with him for a few weeks and rehearsing every day, including baseball and the dance scene. He was there for us in so many ways, including answering questions and having fun with us. This is going to sound cheesy, but you just learn a lot working with him. I’m still thinking back to the experience and things I learned from it.

How would you describe the cast camaraderie?
BJ: It was amazing from start to finish. At the beginning there’s that “getting to know each other” [phase], but there was not a bad egg in the group. Rick did an amazing job in choosing a group of dudes that would be so cool together and have such an amazing time and collaborate, hang out, and talk. It didn’t hurt getting to live with each other for three weeks. We were always cracking jokes and staying up late.

What was your impression of Austin?
BJ: Once we were done rehearsing, we stayed at different places. I was over near South Congress, so I got to see a lot of art and a lot of the music scene. Me and my wife [Supergirl star Melissa Benoist] actually talked about getting a place in Austin if the opportunity ever presents itself. We dug the music scene, the art scene, and it’s also very relaxed. It’s not too hard to live in the “now” in Austin.

How did you prepare to play a college freshman in the 1980s?
BJ: Rick hooked us up with a bunch of CDs and iPod Shuffles with a ton of music from the time, so we were jamming to a bunch of stuff. “My Sharona” and “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” by Michael Jackson were my two go-tos. He hooked us up with anything we needed to embrace the time and the style.

Did anything surprise you while researching the era?
BJ: After reading the script and getting to work on it, I think one of the most beautiful things about the movie is the fact that nothing has changed. Yes, styles, music, and haircuts have changed, but when you’re that young, you’re doing the same thing: You’re finding yourself. Dazed & Confusedcaught a certain moment in life and elaborated on it in the most beautiful way, the funniest way, the most non-BS way. It was very much the truth about growing up in high school. I love this movie a lot, and I think it captures a lot of what the guys, especially, go through in college.

What was your own college experience like?
BJ: I didn’t go to college. I graduated from high school a year early and moved out to LA to pursue acting, so this movie was the freshman year I never had, or the weekend before college that I never had, really. I think this movie has all it needs to affect young people and even adults—it’s timeless.

Tell us about Jake Bradford.
BJ: He’s coming in freshman year, honing his craft as a baseball pitcher. He’s a fish out of water, the normal-ish kind of guy feeling out the situation. What I like about Jake is this: He knows that fine line between a man standing up for himself while also knowing his place as a freshman. You see that he’s getting a little more comfortable and speaking his mind. He’s “the experiencer.”

Did you play baseball growing up?
BJ: I played football and basketball and wrestled, but never baseball. We had to send in audition tapes of us playing baseball, and my tape looked terrible. I had to visit the kid batting cages two times! I couldn’t hit anything, so I went the second time and recorded it on my iPhone and I would trim out the times that I sucked. I spliced together the times I made contact with the ball. We worked with the coaches from UT and all around Austin baseball-wise—it was an eye-opener for sure. Those guys weren’t messing around. Now I can say that I know how to pitch pretty well—I at least got the form down.

What are you working on now?
BJ: I had a fun time doing Supergirl with my wife. I also wrote a film called Billy Boy that’s in post-production. I just did a movie in Vancouver with James L. Brooks producing and Kelly Fremon directing; it’s got Woody Harrelson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Kyra Sedgwick in it, and that was a cool time. Other than that, it’s back to the races, man!

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