ellar coltrane’s golden globe winning boyhood

We chat to the star of Boyhood about growing up in the spotlight.

by Francesca Dunn
12 January 2015, 3:05pm

When Richard Linklater's beautifully honest Boyhood was released last year it won our hearts, and now it's winning major awards. Shot over 12 years, the movie was nominated for five awards at last night's Golden Globes and took home home best film drama, with Richard Linklater named best director and Patricia Arquette best supporting actress. To celebrate their triple win, i-D spoke to the kid we watched grow up on screen as Mason. A very sweet and levelheaded 20-year-old Ellar Coltrane discusses memories of filming, lessons learnt from his movie parents, and his Burning Man birthday.

You didn't see any footage during the 12 years of filming. It must have been emotional to watch the film for the first time? Like a really epic home video?
Yeah, it was intense definitely. It was very cathartic the first time - just a flood of emotion. Not negative or positive, just everything.

Do you have a favourite moment?
The final conversation between Mason and his dad is really meaningful to me, and when Mason Senior takes the kids to the baseball game and the museum and everything, that was a lot of fun to film. I remember that fondly. But that last moment, the very last scene, is really important to me and was incredible to film. The way it comes across on screen is very much the way it felt to film it. It was incredible.

At what point did you see Patricia and Ethan's films and realise how cool they were?
My parents showed me a couple of their films before we started, just to give me an idea I guess. You don't quite understand what celebrities are as a child, so there was probably a point where I figured it out. But they're really relaxed people and I had been working with them in an intimate way for so long that it would be strange to think of them like that, because to me they're just friends.

What did you learn from the two of them?
So much! I learnt how to throw myself into something and how to collaborate. It was more than just acting; it was collaborating and creating the characters together. I also learnt how to use acting as therapy and a way to explore your own life through this fictional outlet.

And how are you finding the premieres and press?
I'm getting used to it but I'm a pretty reserved person so it's definitely weird to be talking to strangers about myself. It can go either way. I mean, sometimes it's stressful but in the same was as acting; if you approach it in the right way it can be very therapeutic. I'm looking forward to going home for a while though.

Where's home?
Austin. I don't plan to leave any time soon, either. I think I'll always travel a lot but Austin's home for me.

What's your everyday life like at the moment?
I don't really have one. It's hard to say because before all of this I was working full time doing landscaping and had a pretty normal life but now… I dunno… I swim a lot?

In the film Mason decides he wants to be a photographer. Is that something that you're actually into yourself?
Not as much anymore but when I was young it was a large part of my life and that's why it's in the film. Now I'm more focused on abstract painting and drawing.

You're 20 now… what did you do for your birthday?
I was actually at Burning Man for my birthday. It was my first time there and the people that I was staying with were part of this gypsy band and they took me up in one of the construction cranes overlooking the whole neon city of Burning Man and they played me songs about zombies. It was amazing. It was the best birthday present ever.

If Richard suggested making movies like Boyhood for the rest of your life, would you agree to it?
I don't know if I'd do it forever but I enjoyed this very much so if he wanted to do the next twelve years then I'd definitely consider it.

Boyhood is out on DVD on January 19th.


Text Francesca Dunn

golden globes
ellar coltrane