In Which Ethan Hawke Makes His Third Mistake

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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

Gattaca

Tape

Quiz Show

Explorers

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.”

Reds
”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.”

Hawke is expecting his third child, this one with Ryan Shawhughes. She was their nanny and called him a year after the divorce.

Hawke and Thurman parted ways in 2003 after five years of marriage. Their divorce was finalized in 2005.

The former couple has two children together—nine-year-old daughter Maya Ray and six-year-old son Levon Roan.

Though Hawke was allegedly carrying on an affair with Canadian model Jennifer Perzow during the final months of his marriage, he has repeatedly attributed his breakup with Thurman to other factors.

“The story of us breaking up over infidelity has been an annoying one,” he told Details magazine in a 2004 interview. “If our problems were that simple, we’d still be together. Uma and I were having troubles long before the press got ahold of us.”

Unsurprisingly, a Jonathan Lethem novel is Hawke’s next project. He’s also involved in Richard Linklater’s movie Boyhood, being shot over 12 years.

Molly Lambert is Senior Editor of This Recording.

“All My Exs Live in Texas” – George Strait (mp3)

“Trash” – The Whip (mp3)

“Mike Mills” – Air (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Michelle Obama, we hardly knew ye.

Dave Eggers really did it this time.

We made The L Word our betch.

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would you like to come back to my place so I can mentor you?

10 thoughts on “In Which Ethan Hawke Makes His Third Mistake

  1. People say…say…say…But Ethan is an excellent actor and writer. I keep seeing his work and his life and I see an intelligent man, an adorable father, a great friend.

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