Arts·Q with Tom Power

Richard Linklater on capturing the joys of a free-range childhood in Apollo 10½

The veteran filmmaker takes us back to the space race era with his animated film, Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood, which is steeped in 1960s nostalgia, but also speaks to our world today.

The director takes us back to the space race era with his animated film, Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood

Richard Linklater poses for a portrait in a hotel room.
Richard Linklater poses for a portrait at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, on March 12, 2022, to promote his film Apollo 10½. (Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

This interview originally aired on April 5, 2022.

Over the course of his career, Richard Linklater has made pretty much every kind of movie a filmmaker could make. He's done crowd-pleasing comedies like Dazed and Confused and School of Rock, highly philosophical and experimental films like Slacker and Waking Life, and the epic coming-of-age drama Boyhood, which was shot with the same cast over 12 years.

But throughout his eclectic body of work, there's often a recurring theme of looking to the past and zeroing in on those moments in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, just before life is about to get a lot more complicated.

His animated film Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood is no exception. It's set in the suburbs of Houston during the late 1960s space race — the same sort of place where Linklater himself grew up — but it's also pure fantasy. It tells the story of a young boy who undergoes a top-secret test mission to the moon before Neil Armstrong's famous Apollo 11 voyage in 1969. 

Linklater joins Q's Tom Power to tell us how Apollo 10½ speaks to our world today while also being steeped in 1960s nostalgia.

WATCH | Official trailer for Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood:

The full interview with Richard Linklater is available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Interview with Richard Linklater produced by Stuart Berman.