If there was any doubt that Ellar Coltrane is on his way to being an indie darling, doubt no more: the 21-year old actor just booked his first gig since his starring role in Richard Linklater's Boyhood, and it's got every indie flick trapping you can dream of: Coltrane is starring in an on-screen adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel from 2013, The Circle. Indie cred achieved!
Coltrane will be starring along with heavy hitters Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in the adpatation of the novel, which is being directed by James Ponsoldt — who himself is a young director trying to carve his niche as an indie director. (Ponsoldt's behind the David Foster Wallace biopic The End Of The Tour , after all.) Coltrane will play Watson's ex-boyfriend in The Circle: According to The Hollywood Reporter , "The 2013 book tackled privacy in the digital age and tells the story of a young woman (to be played by Watson) who is rising through the ranks of the Circle, a tech conglomerate that believes privacy is an outdated idea and seeks to open up people’s lives with its devices." Spooky!
Not that Coltrane was lacking in the alt dream boy department. The world watched him grow up in Boyhood, an impressive and expansive project that Coltrane starred in for 12 long, real-time years, in which he did lots of growing as an actual boy besides all the growing he did on screen. It would have been understandable if Coltrane never acted again a day in his life — but it looks like Linklater rubbed off on him and inspired him to choose this new role. The Circle is currently filming and also stars along with Coltrane, Watson and Hanks — who will play one of the founders of the tech company — John Boyega, Karen Gillan and Patton Oswalt.
Coltrane has already proved he has the acting chops, but now is his chance to get out of his own, 12-year shadow. Boyhood was a sensation: It got Patricia Arquette an Oscar, and won countless nominations during the 2014 awards season. If he wants it to be, The Circle could be Coltrane's way of saying "hey, I'm no longer a boy, I'm a man, and a thespian." All he needs to do now is lock down a role in a Spike Jonze picture, and he will be all set as indie darling for all millennials.
Perhaps his new role is symbolic: Coltrane chose to keep pursuing acting, but the character he will be playing in The Circle is trying to get off the grid. It's what could have been for Coltrane if he had tried to go back to life as a regular 21-year old — but when so much of your life is intertwined with and captured on film, why not keep at it?