Richard Linklater will be shooting his next movie over the next 20 years

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

linklater, merrily, 20 years

If you thought Richard Linklater spending 12 years on the movie BOYHOOD was impressive, you haven’t seen anything yet. The filmmaker is about to top himself in the field of insanely long productions, setting the stage for an adaption of the Stephen Sondheim musical – “Merrily We Roll Along” – which he intends to shoot over the course of the next 20 years. Those are pretty optimistic expectations considering how much of the world seems to be on fire right now, but hey, at least we have this to look forward to.


EW got the scoop that Linklater is teaming with Blumhouse to make the movie over the course of the next two decades with actors Ben Platt (PITCH PERFECT), Beanie Feldstein (BOOKSMART) and Blake Jenner (GLEE). Sondheim and George Furth adapted an original 1934 play of the same name for the musical, which follows three friends who have a falling out over the years as they chase dreams and success. The primary focus is on Frank Shepard (believed to be Jenner’s role), who abandons life as a famous composer to become a Hollywood producer. The musical takes place between 1957 and 1976, starting at the height of Shepard's success and going back in time to recount the major moments in his life to illustrate how he became the man he is, going back to when he met his then-close friends.

“I first saw, and fell in love with Merrily in the ’80s and I can’t think of a better place to spend the next 20 years than in the world of a Sondheim musical,” Linklater said in a statement. “I don’t enter this multiyear experience lightly, but it seems the best, perhaps the only way, to do this story justice on film.”


Linklater is expected to follow the same structure as the musical, and word from Blumhouse is principal photography has already started on the first chunk of the movie. In following the same structure as the musical, this means the first bits he films will be the latter parts of the movie, and the scenes he shoots 20 years from now will be near the beginning.

Of course, Linklater has done this sort of work before with his critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning 2014 movie, BOYHOOD. He shot that movie over the course of 12 years, following the life of a six-year-old boy as he transitions into a man. His work earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director, losing to Alejandro G. Iñárritu for BIRDMAN. 

Linklater's ambition for this is rather surreal, as we can expect these actors to live with these characters for the next two decades, and watching it all unfold in 20 years will be an experience that we can't even fathom yet. That is so long from now, and your kids who aren't even born yet may very well be buying their own tickets to this movie when it comes out. I just…need to sit down for a second. 

Source: EW

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