Ellar Coltrane: Boy Genius

Ellar Coltrane

Ellar Coltrane. Photograph courtesy of IFC Films.

Twelve years ago, the director Richard Linklater began filming Ellar Coltrane, who was then 7 years old, for his movie Boyhood, a year-by-year dramatization of how a child gradually (and, then, suddenly) ages into adulthood. His gamble on the young actor’s enduring appeal and talent paid off: In only 39 days of filming (sprinkled over those 12 years), Coltrane becomes more and more fascinating, going from adorable and dreamy to cool and thoughtful. His unique performance gives Boyhood enormous resonance.