Ethan Hawke: “I had an allergy to being famous and have been neurotically chasing a larger dream, a substantive life in the arts”

Though Ethan Hawke could have had a solid career by coasting on his fame from starring in films like Reality Bites in the 1990s, Hawke is making a return to the familiar New York stage in an extremely intimate setting.  He stars as a troubled rock star in Clive, which he also directed, at the Acorn Theater.  He spoke to The New York Times about his decision to return to the stage and why theater means more to him than acting in film.

Hawke has dyed his usually dark hair silver and has spiked it up to help him get into character.  Of the change, he says, “I don’t know how to explain it exactly.  I didn’t want to feel like me when I did this role.  I’m trying to do that old-school, third-person thing by unlocking something as utterly superficial as my hair. I was shooting for a Bowie thing, but then I saw a picture of him after I did it, and he didn’t really do his hair like this.”

Though Clive is a modern adaptation of Baal, a play by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, Hawke believes that with his collaborators he has created something original.  He says, “I’ve spent my whole life aping the theater work of others, learning on the way, but I feel like I’m stumbling on something that is original with this group of people.  You haven’t seen a play like this before, and I don’t know exactly how it is going to work, but I do know it’s what I want to do with my life.”

Despite starring in a number of high profile movies in the 1990s and 2000s, Hawke admits that pursuing his creativity has always been more important than pursuing celebrity.  He explains, “Early on when I experienced some success, I grew incredibly weary of what fame meant on a DNA level.  My talent, whatever it was or is, was not strong enough to survive that. I had an allergy to being famous and have been neurotically chasing a larger dream, a substantive life in the arts, so that I didn’t end up getting defined by it.”

In fact, Hawke much prefers the immediate response he gets from audiences in theater than the response he gets for his movies.  He points out, “When someone tells you they saw you in Training Day, and that they liked what you did, it feels good, but I wasn’t there.  But if it is a piece of theater, I was part of it, and if someone, including other people I respect, comes to see some little play I did, that means a lot to me.”

Of course, while Hawke might prefer theater, but there is one series of films that remain close to his heart: the Before Sunrise series that he has created with director Richard Linkletter and actress Julie Delpy.  The third film, Before Midnight, will be released later this year.  Hawke confesses he has a close connection with the series, saying, “Before Sunrise was such an important movie for me because I learned to talk on screen. Before that, all I had ever been asked was to brood for the camera. Before Midnight, because of its sheer existence, ends up being about the passage of  time. And yeah, your face falls apart and all that. But what I noticed is how much the same I am, how much of whatever I am is there in each film.”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-jacki-weaver-and.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver and Virginia Kull on ‘Gracepoint’ and Strong Female Roles on TV
The actresses also speak candidly about how they feel about their characters in the series and why its important for TV to feature series with strong female leads.Check out the conversation above!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-cristin-milioti-talks-a-to.jpg
Watch: Cristin Milioti Talks ‘A to Z’, ‘Once’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Few actresses have the kind of rise as Cristin Milioti has had in the last few years. A virtual unknown in 2011, she became a bona fide Broadway star in the 2012 hit Once, appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, and was featured as the titular mother […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-bryan-cranstons-acting-adv.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Acting Advice
With Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Barrel being released on Blu-ray with all kinds of goodies today, it gives us yet another opportunity to reflect on the series’ star Bryan Cranston and all of the incredible advice he has offered actors in the wake of his success. In a video he filmed in 2013 for […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/alex-sharp-curious-incident-of-the-dog.jpg
Alex Sharp Talks About His Broadway Debut in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (video)
Alex Sharp went from working in a call-center and renovating houses to going to Julliard. And now, he’s starring in one of the most talked about shows of the season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Check out this great, inspiring video!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Its-only-a-play.jpg
Watch a Scene From Terrance McNally’s, ‘It’s Only a Play’, Featuring Nathan Lane and Micah Stock
Here’s a quick scene from Terrance McNally‘s It’s Only a Play, currently on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theater. In this scene, Nathan Lane and Micah Stock meet for the first time. The show, about the opening night of a new play, also stars Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.