Richard Linklater cast his daughter Lorelei Linklater as Samantha because she was always singing and dancing around the house and wanted to be in his movies. At about the third or fourth year of filming, she lost interest and asked for her character to be killed off. Linklater refused, saying it was too violent for what he was planning (Lorelei eventually regained her enthusiasm and continued with the project).
Ethan Hawke presents his fictional son with the gift of the Black Album on his fifteen birthday. In real life, Ethan Hawke compiled the individual Beatles songs into the Black Album to help his daughter Maya deal with the breakup of his marriage with Uma Thurman.
Boyhood (2014) is one of only 11 movies to receive a Metascore of 100, the highest possible score that can be attained from professional movie critics on the review aggregate Metacritic, and so far the only film to receive this score upon its original release.
The precise timeframe of the film is never made completely clear. The constantly changing time setting can only be identified by pop-culture references, the soundtrack, and advances in the technology used by the characters. The production staff was careful to only use songs in scenes which took place in or soon after the songs, respective years of production.
None of the actors were contractually obligated to return to the film each year due to the De Havilland Law under California Labor Code, which makes it illegal to contract employees for more than seven years of work.
The film began production as "The Untitled 12 Year Project" and then became just "12 Years". But when the film was finished, Richard Linklater changed the title to Boyhood (2014), to avoid confusion with the similarly-titled, Academy Award-winning 12 Years a Slave (2013).
Richard Linklater and his crew got together annually to film Linklater's script about a boy who will eventually grow up into a college freshman. Linklater's method behind production was essentially to make several 10- to 15-minute short films over the course of 12 years, each depicting a year in the life of the boy, and then edit them together as a feature film.
Longtime friends, Linklater and Hawke both grew up with divorced fathers from Texas who worked in the insurance business, assessing risk--exactly the career Hawke's character, Mason Sr., eventually takes on in the film.
According to Richard Linklater, Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) is a continuation of Boyhood in terms of beginning right where it ends with a guy showing up at college and meeting his new roommates and a girl.
Scenes that take place within Pedernales Falls State Park (Johnson City, TX) were shot illegally. Permission was granted to shoot, but no filming fees were ever paid and the portion of the river in which the actors are seen swimming has been closed to the public for swimming since 1977 (due to approximately 25 drownings that occurred in that area between 1971 and 1977).
Mason is in all but two scenes in the movie. First when Mason Sr asks Samantha if she brushed her teeth and if she planned on going to sleep with her headphones in during a weekend visit. Second when Samantha doesn't pick up Mason from school and Olivia is lecturing her.
Mason Sr.'s roommate Jimmy is played by Charlie Sexton, a real-life musician who toured with Bob Dylan for many years. Several pieces of Dylan-themed artwork can be seen on the walls of Mason and Jimmy's apartment.
In the scene where Mason and his high school girlfriend are at the diner eating there is a man acting insane and talking to no one. In Richard Linklater's film Slacker (1990) there is also a scene where a man is in a diner and a crazy woman is talking to no one.
In the campfire scene, the movie showed Dad and Mason talking about the possibility of another "Star Wars" movie. The campfire scene and the previously shown Obama/Biden campaign scene set in 2008 showed Mason at the same age. The real plans for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) were first conceived after the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney in 2012. Eventually, this movie was released in the same year that Episode VII started filming.
When the Astros player hits a home run during the scene at the baseball game, Ethan Hawke can be heard asking "You got that?" before cutting himself off before the camera pans to him, presumably asking Richard Linklater if the cameras are rolling.
The baseball game that Dad brings Mason and Samantha to is a combination of two different Brewers / Astros contests filmed eight months apart. The footage of Roger Clemens is from a game held on August 18, 2005. The game that Dad, Mason and Samantha actually attended was filmed on April 17, 2006, when The Astros' Jason Lane actually did hit a home run precisely where the camera was pointing.
Although Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke's characters are billed as "Mom" and "Dad", respectively, their characters' real names are revealed to be "Olivia" and "Mason Sr." in the film. In real life, Arquette's mother was also named "Olivia".
During the scene at the baseball game, Mason's dad, played by Ethan Hawke, reveals he has passed his second actuarial exam. This could be a reference to Ethan Hawke's father, who was an insurance actuary himself.
The 35mm film used in Boyhood was bought from the Eastman Kodak company and Boyhood was promoted in Kodak's FilmWorthy program, a program set up to keep traditional film alive in the digital age. On the Kodak Motion Picture Film's website main page, the poster and trailer for Boyhood were both featured.
The film features two songs by Arcade Fire ("Suburban War" and "Deep Blue"). Coincidentally, two of the film's actors (Sam Dillon and Zoë Graham, who played Nick and Sheena, respectively) also appear in Spike Jonze's Scenes from the Suburbs (2011), a 2011 short film based completely on Arcade Fire''s 2010 album "The Suburbs," and featuring numerous songs from the album. Both Boyhood (2014) and "Scenes" were filmed in Austin, Texas.
When Mason Sr. is talking to Samantha about condoms in the bowling alley after finding out she has a boyfriend, the two of them laugh when the conversation is over. That wasn't in the script. Lorelei Linklater (Samantha) and Ethan Hawke (Mason Sr.) had a genuine laughing reaction about how awkward the scene was. The director, Richard Linklater kept the moment in the movie as he felt it was extremely touching.
In a scene about two-thirds through the movie, Mason's DVD collection is visible in the background. If observed closely, most of the movies featured were appropriately released in the mid-to-late 2000s, around the time the scene was actually filmed. It includes two movies mentioned by Mason earlier in the movie, 'The Dark Knight' and 'Tropic Thunder', in addition to 'School of Rock', which was also directed by Richard Linklater.
Near the end of the movie, while talking to his father about relationships and girls, and in the next scene with his mother and sister, Mason wears a t-shirt with a painting "Collective Vision" by Alex Grey, an artist known for his artwork for the metal band Tool.
The scene where Mason goes off to college and moves into his dorm room was filmed in Fletcher Hall on the campus of Sul Ross State University. Fletcher Hall has long thought to have paranormal activity.
Sam Dillon, who plays Mason's high school friend, and Zoë Graham, who plays Sheena, both appeared in Scenes From the Suburbs, a short film featuring Arcade Fire. Arcade Fire's song Deep Blue off their album The Suburbs plays over this films credits.
When Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) is younger in the movie, it shows that he and his sister are fans of Harry Potter. In the movie "The Circle" (2017) his character was friends with Emma Watson's character. Emma Watson played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies.
The girl that Mason meets in the end of the film is named Nicole. When Mason got his haircut the girl who passed the note to him was also named Nicole, although it is unclear if this was the same girl.