In Which We Tell Ethan Hawke He’s An Asshole

You’re Not Very Interesting, Nobody Empathizes With You

by Molly Lambert

You know, if some people were Ethan Hawke, they’d have the good sense to keep their damn mouth shut. But no, not Ethan Hawke. He wants us to feel his emosogynist pain. Too bad Hawke. Your greasy open-mouthed slacker routine never worked on me, and it’s still not going to.

“I like young people and I’m interested in how hard it is being a young white male in the United States of America in our early 20s. Nobody empathizes with you. You’re not very interesting. Men get more interesting as they get older, I guess. Hopefully. But it can be very difficult to find yourself and to struggle to have an authentic life and make the most of your life.”

Excuse me while I call the Wahmbulance.

EW: Did it make you feel vulnerable to revisit the novel after being so criticized for its self-absorption?

EH: If you’re me, there’s a lot of advantages that come with it and a lot of disadvantages that come with it. People never hesitate to tell me when they think I’m an asshole.

In last week’s Toronto Film Festival debut of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Hawke revealed yet another side to himself — the pathetic, low-life pissant. The pitch-black heist picture, directed by Sidney Lumet, follows a pair of working-stiff brothers (Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman) who badly bungle their attempt to rob their parents’ jewelry store. Hawke is the zeta to Hoffman’s alpha male; he looks as though he’s been sucker-punched in every scene of the movie.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What drew you to play such an unredeemable tool in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead?

ETHAN HAWKE: When I first heard about Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Phil had just won the Oscar [for Capote], which is a weird moment in a person’s life. Creatively, that can be an absolute killer. It’s hurt more careers than it’s helped. What makes us better is the struggle and the fight. Getting lots of pats on the back has led many a person to puking in the toilet. So I thought there was something beautiful about the fact that Phil was taking this opportunity to use his success to greenlight a Sidney Lumet film. The movie feels like such a throwback. It feels like a movie that starred Gene Hackman and was made 20 years ago.

EW: Was it fun to let your vanity go and become such a chump?

EH: It was hard. To be honest, I was glad when the movie was over. It took a huge psychic toll to have Phil lay into you every day and pop you like a pimple. It just felt awful.

Movies Ethan Hawke Was In That I Liked:

Training Day



Quiz Show


Ethan Hawke’s Essentials (from EW)

Sky Blue Sky, Wilco
Hawke, a fan of frontman Jeff Tweedy, loves Wilco’s latest. ”It starts with a happy little guitar riff and the line, ‘Maybe the sun will shine today.’ I felt like, ‘He’s happy!’ And I thought, ‘I am too!’ Corny, but I love him.”

”I remember when I was 18, I thought I would make a movie like Reds someday. Now I’m almost as old as Warren Beatty when he made it. Not quite, but I’m nowhere close to doing something that good. How am I going to do it? Do I still hope I can? I don’t know.”

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
”If you haven’t read this, stop what you’re doing and read it. The greatest book ever written. It’s what you want when you put on a new record, or go to church — it’s what you want at 3 a.m. or 12 in the afternoon.”

The Vagabond – Air: mp3

Salt In The Wounds – Beck: mp3

Bogusflow – Beck: mp3

Molly Lambert is Senior Editor of This Recording.


Michelle Obama, we hardly knew ye.

Dave Eggers really did it this time.

We made The L Word our betch.

14 thoughts on “In Which We Tell Ethan Hawke He’s An Asshole

  1. He’s such a smelly asshole, pardon my French. Here, he kisses up to Beatty, in another interview with Variety he put down Beatty for his, according to him, arrogance (proof that he doesn’t know the man, otherwise he wouldn’t have said that). You just try to achieve anything near to half of what Beatty has achieved, you ugly nobody, THEN we’ll see if anything you say is worth listening to.

  2. Well put, Marilyn, although I developed my now-revolutionary view of human behavior based on reading The Hottest State was I was 12.

    He came to an n+1 party once and I overheard him telling his girlfriend that she was smothering him. Tremendous stuff.

    What I am saying, I love this guy.

  3. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been a sucker for Ethan and his goateed philosopher ways for much too long. But I think he needs to unplug and do a Farrelly brothers movie or play the smart aleck turtle in some Pixar cartoon. Anything with a zero angst quotient would be refreshing.

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