Ethan Green Hawke was born on 6 November 1970 in Austin Texas. His parents were students at the University of Texas at the time but divorced when Ethan was 5. His mother raised him alone for the next five years, moving around the country, until she remarried in 1981 and the family settled in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School and then transferred to the Hun School of Princeton and it was while he was there that he began taking acting classes at the McCarter Theatre on the Princeton campus. His early ambition had been to be a writer, but as a result of the acting lessons and appearances in student productions he persuaded his mother to allow him to attend an audition for a role in a sci-fi teen adventure, Explorers (1985). He got the part (alongside River Phoenix) but although the movie was favourably reviewed, it met with little commercial success which discouraged Hawke from pursuing further movie roles for a few years.
He was admitted to the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon University to study theater but his studies were interrupted when he won his breakthrough role opposite Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989) and he didn't complete his degree.
His subsequent acting career was a mix of theater work (earning a number of awards and nominations, including a Tony nomination for his role in The Coast of Utopia at the Lincoln Center in New York), and a mix of "serious" and more commercial movies, notably Gattaca (1997) (where he met his first wife, Uma Thurman) and Training Day (2001).
Meanwhile he also pursued his childhood ambition and has written two novels and several screenplays.
|Ryan Shawhughes-Hawke||(18 June 2008 - present) 2 children|
|Uma Thurman||(1 May 1998 - 20 July 2004) (divorced) 2 children|
Attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School in central New Jersey, but is not pictured in the yearbook (1984-1986).
Graduated from the Hun School of Princeton. 
Published his first novel, "The Hottest State," in 1996 (the novel sold for $400,000 to Little, Brown and Company).
Was in a production of "Great Expectations" at West Windsor Plainsboro High School.
Was accepted by Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Drama in Pittsburgh, PA, but dropped out after only 5 months.
Proposed to ex-wife Uma Thurman twice before she said yes.
His cat appeared in the Lisa Loeb music-video "Stay", which he directed.
He was the original choice to play FBI Agent Will Graham in Red Dragon (2002), but turned the role down to take time off from making movies.
His parents were University of Texas students when Ethan was born, and they separated when he was three.
Says that he is constantly mistaken for Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray so often that he signs autographs as "Mark McGrath" and, apparently, the same thing happens to Mark McGrath who, in turn, signs autographs as "Ethan Hawke" to fans.
When he was in the seventh grade, he played "Lon" in West Windsor-Plainsboro junior high school production of the play "Meet Me in St. Louis".
Attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York for one year.
First cousin twice removed of Tennessee Williams. Hawke's great grandfather and Williams' father were brothers.
On Father's Day 2004 he went to a Yankees game with his kids.
Is a big fan of the Star Wars movie series
His mother Leslie is a charity worker who lives in Romania.
Stepbrother Patrick Powers is a Green Beret who served a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, and is currently (late 2006/early 2007) serving a six-month tour in Iraq.
His first acting role was at McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey at age 12.
His mother is a strict vegetarian and animal rights activist.
Is a big fan of the band Wilco.
To prepare for his role in the film version of Hamlet he spent the summer before filming attending three study sessions a week with a friend who had played the part on the stage.
Took a year off acting after Training Day (2001) to complete his novel Ash Wednesday.
Twice during his 20s he took a two-year leave of absence, once to go to NYU and study English (he dropped out when a part came up), and then to write a novel.
In Before Sunset (2004) (which he co-wrote with Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater), Hawke's character Jesse is in a failing marriage with a woman he married because she had become pregnant. Soon after the film's release, Hawke divorced his real-life wife Uma Thurman, whom he had married while she was pregnant with their first child.
Announced that he and his girlfriend, Ryan Shawhughes, are expecting a child together (January 31, 2008). Ryan used to be the nanny of his children by his ex-wife, Uma Thurman.
He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2004 in Austin, Texas.
Ethan and his wife, Ryan Shawhughes-Hawke, became the parents of a girl, Clementine Jane Hawke, on July 18, 2008 in New York City.
Lives in New York City.
A fan of Guns N' Roses.
Was considered for the role of Dignam in The Departed (2006).
Ethan and Ryan Shawhughes-Hawke are expecting their second child [April 21, 2011].
Father, with Ryan Shawhughes-Hawke, of second daughter, Indiana Hawke, born in August, 2011.
Son of Leslie Hawke and Jim Hawke - they divorced in 1974. Stepson of David Weiss. He has five stepsisters and one stepbrother.
I think most people are good at more things than the world gives them the opportunity to do.
"The kindest compliments I have ever heard are when cops tell me Training Day (2001) and Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) inspired them to become cops. The funniest compliments I have ever heard are when people tell me that 'I love your band Sugar Ray'".
But the truth is, I've never wanted to be a movie star - and I've been pretty clear about that.
People look at your life and see things as a big deal that aren't a big deal to you. What I mean is, the chapter breaks are different for me. I'll read about my divorce, and what people think about it, and, well, it's so inaccurate, usually, but the fact is, I wouldn't want it to be accurate. Because it's my truth. When I was younger, it was more important to me to come off well. Now, I just want to try to be good at what I do.
The devil is seductive, and so guns are glorious in the culture. I understand there's a case to be made. For instance, Spike Lee said something like this, that you can't have a scene with drugs in a film that doesn't secretly make you want to do drugs. In the same vein, it's hard to make a movie that's anti-violence because the very nature of photographing violence eroticises it. But I'm not so sold that that's true.
Actors write movies all the time - but you try fiction and you're an asshole. Everyone wants to try new things, or almost everyone. Really great supporting actors want to play the lead, and lead actors secretly wish they could be character actors. Brad Pitt doesn't want to be pretty! You know what I mean? Everybody in the world wants to look like Brad Pitt, and Brad Pitt wants to look like a regular guy.
A lot of these movies, they're really enjoyable to see. Really, it's like smoking crack or something--you walk out and you feel diminished by it. It's eye candy, just violence and sex. Definitely lots of sex, people making out or showing their tits, which is always fun, but it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. I tried it - I tried doing this Angelina Jolie movie [Taking Lives (2004)], a popcorn movie, the first movie I did that's about nothing. And I didn't like it, because I do ultimately feel there's enough crap like this. It's so much more fun and harder and more challenging to try to make something that's entertaining but isn't wasting your time.
One of the things that's great about Training Day (2001) is that you have two very distinct personalities, but it's true: it also has a great plot. If you can do both, it's incredibly exciting for the audience. Oftentimes, you have art films that have no narrative to speak of and instead offer characterization; then you have mainstream movies that are simple formulas, A-B-C-D. Training Day (2001) is a good combo.
(On being a father) "It's the greatest pleasure in my life. It's the only role that, if I fail, I will consider my life a failure."
A lot of American actors when they do Shakespeare put on a phoney English accent and it drives me crazy. You're always fighting against the idea that only the British know how to do Shakespeare.
After Reality Bites (1994) came out, I had opportunities to be a different kind of actor, and rightly or wrongly, I grew up in a household where there was such anger and resentment towards anyone who had any money, that I never really had any desire to make any money. And I had the idea that a real artist wouldn't have any money. That's been problematic.
(On working with Jude Law) I think Jude's the real thing. He is just electric, man. He is so beautiful. It's weird to be around someone that beautiful. I just couldn't believe he was straight.
I was friends with River Phoenix, you know, and I used to be painfully jealous of him, until a friend pointed out that him doing well doesn't mean that you're doing badly. And if he does badly, it doesn't mean you're doing better. It's like that great Gore Vidal line, 'Whenever a friend of mine succeeds, a small part of me dies'. Being an adult is really challenging. When you're young, you can rely for so long on being promising, and then you have to stop being promising. You want to say, 'Hey, can't I be promising any more?'.
(On Dead Poets Society (1989)) The experience on that movie was, for lack of a better term, life-altering. Peter Weir has a unique talent for making movies that are intelligent but also mainstream. I've never been terribly successful at doing that.
One of the things I learned on Training Day (2001) was it can be fun to work inside a genre. And I've also always felt that if you wanted to keep working, that if you're not a real chameleon of an actor and if you're not one of those guys who can really shape-change themselves all the time, one of the ways to keep pushing yourself and keep changing is to be in different kinds of movies. And this one had a good part, and often these kinds of movies don't even allow you to even try to give a nuanced performance.
The person who's had the most impact on acting since Marlon Brando, the only person who's really changed acting, is Julia Roberts. I call it the Julia Roberts School of Acting. It's an excess of competence. She's got all these imitators, and they just basically get on screen and smile. The idea is, smile and say your line. And Julia Roberts herself - well, that's one thing. But she has a ton of pupils who get on screen and basically just smile. And their smile is so winning, and so wonderful, that you say, 'I like that person'. And it drives me crazy, because the point of performance is not to be liked. My grandfather's a politician, and he can never understand. He says, 'You've got to stop playing these people no one would ever like!' But my job is not to be liked. It's to make interesting things. I want to actually do something, rather than just be me on screen. Julia Roberts does something with it, but all her imitators. It's like the imitators of Raymond Carver, that generation of writers copying him, I guess: it looks simple to them and they copy it, but they're missing the thing that made it special.
(On writing his novel, The Hottest State) "Writing the book had to do with dropping out of college, and with being an actor. I didn't want my whole life to go by and not do anything but recite lines. I wanted to try making something else. It was definitely the scariest thing I ever did. And a huge learning experience about how not everybody's going to like you, or like what you do. And you have to ask yourself, is it worthwhile? Or am I just doing it to be liked? And it was just one of the best things I ever did. The second book was so much more fun because of that. The first was just a novelty act, like, 'The kid from Reality Bites wrote a book? Who does he think he is?' And I understand that."
I had a huge depression when my marriage split up. But Before Sunset (2004) and Hurlyburly (1998) ended up being these giant vents for me, to let it blow through. No matter how screwed up I was, I was never as screwed up as "Eddy" in Hurlyburly (1998), the woman-hater.
On Julie Delpy's part in Before Sunset (2004): What I love about "Celine", what I felt really proud about that script, is that she's really a fully-dimensional woman. It's very rare in movies that you don't see a male projection of a fantasy woman. I mean, Julie deserves 90% of the credit, 100% of the credit, but I feel proud of the collaboration that created that character. Her work in that movie is my favorite thing about it.
Reflecting on his first novel "The Hottest State": The older you get, the humbler you get. I know I don't have that much to offer, and I know I've now read Moby Dick and Anna Karenina, and if I had read those books before I wrote The Hottest State, I don't think I'd have published it. I had the arrogance of the uneducated, which sometimes you need.
On Before Sunset (2004): It's its own form of cinema, it's its own entity. I think Chekhov would like Before Sunset because it's all about nuance. Any decent screen-writing school would throw that script out. There's no beginning, middle and end, it's completely fluid, just chasing the nuance of life, and kind of believing whatever God is lives in this kind of energy that flows between all of us. I kind of live for that, for that chance that you might get another opportunity to be a part of something like that.
On contemporary movie market: I struggle with people thinking all these superhero movies are such great films. We just celebrate mediocrity. We run it up the flagpole. There's always going to be a market for superhero movies, and I don't want to criticize it - I'll do a superhero movie if I have to - but it's the James Joyces of the world who need to be run up the flagpole. But nobody's reading them, because it's difficult.
On his other lines of work - theatre, directing, writing: One of the most difficult aspects of being an actor is trying to find the right work. Work that speaks to an audience, that you enjoy doing and that is reflective of your artistic sensibility. To be a contemporary movie actor, you have to kill people - that's basically it. If you don't cock'n'load'n'fire a Smith & Wesson at some point in your film career, you're not going to have a film career. There just aren't enough movies that I like to keep me working in movies all the time. Well, let me rephrase that: there aren't enough available parts.
In grade school they say you have to pick a profession and stick to it...and people stop looking at their lives as a work in progress. If you don't stay in touch with yourself, you kind of lose focus. If you're going to spend a life in the arts, you need to be infused with a sense of gratitude and a sense of wonder. It's a privilege to do this profession. But there is a payment you have to make for that privilege, which is to do your best all the time. To challenge yourself.
I'm a student of acting and one of the things you learn when you study Shakespeare is that what was going on inside people 500 years ago is going on inside people now. Our inner life, what's really important, how we're thinking, we can relate to that if you can find the truth of it.
I don't understand the world. I don't understand why some people have to suffer so much and others don't. I don't understand the unfairness of all that - I can't wrap my brain around it. Seems like it should be the opposite, like global warming should make Haiti discover that they have the secret plant that makes them all rich, because they've suffered enough, those people.
The great power of literature is to expand our vision. "Go Tell It on the Mountain" is a case in point. You feel as if Baldwin bled over this book, that this book hurt to write. It's not a memoir; it's somebody taking very real feelings and turning them into art. He writes evocatively, but you don't need to have a graduate degree to understand his books-you just need to have a heart.
There was a great thing that Willie Nelson once said. He said he loved old guitars because they had character, but now that he's old he has character, so he likes new guitars. I'm the same way. I have character. My clothes don't need it. And there are parts of me that don't look as good. So I have a nice suit.
I seem to have this problem with having children. They erode the amount of time in the day. I see some of these young actors and, I love my kids, but there is a part of me that says, "You want your career to go well? Don't get married. Don't have kids. You have to be a monk to your profession."
One of the things I dislike about most modern movies is that you only need to be 8 or 12 to fully comprehend the intent of the filmmaker. And while I enjoy Madagascar (2005) and while I did cry when I watched Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010), it's fun to see a movie that is made for somebody over the age of 15.
[on what kind of films he grew up watching] - When I was 16 or 17, I was graduating high school in New Jersey and there was an art-house movie theater. I saw Paris, Texas (1984), Wings of Desire (1987) (aka "Wings of Desire"), and Blue Velvet (1986). Those movies woke me up to a whole other world of what movies can be. I'd been growing up on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). When I saw director Pawel Pawlikowski's movies, they reminded me of movies that would have shown at that theater. I really wanted to work with him. He worked with a Polish cinematographer, and they were so well-educated, they could teach about filmmaking at any school in any galaxy.
[on how the set of The Woman in the Fifth (2011) (aka "The Woman in the Fifth") differed from a typical Hollywood production] - They weren't worried how the damn film is going to test in this market or that market. They are trying to write a poem, to make something that's beautiful, to express themselves in a way that is beautiful. More and more, I find the film industry is owned and controlled and eaten and consumed by big business. It's kinda nauseating. It was a change to be around people that don't find it pretentious that art is beautiful, that the aspiration is a worthy one and not a pretentious one. In this culture, if you don't put your primary motive is making money, then you're a pretentious asshole. That said, they thought I was the populist because I wanted the movie to make sense.
As I've gotten older, I've gotten more interested in blurring the line between character and actor. When Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley or Patti Smith sings a song, you feel like they're singing about themselves. It gets inside me and works on me in a different way when the song doesn't matter to them. So, more and more, I tried to make things personal to me. ... Obviously you try to bring yourself to your character, like Brooklyn's Finest (2009). To be a cop, in this intense lifestyle, but also marry it to something so that it's you, so that it's not a posture or a pose of a cop. It's personal, it's you. Sometimes, I get close. Sometimes, I miss it. But that's my goal, to express the way that real people are, they can be ethical and hypocritical and self-centered. It's all very much at play in the moment. When I've seen other people do that on screen, I love it. ... Al Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon" or Nicholson in "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" or DeNiro in "Taxi Driver": These are the iconic roles where people have really succeeded. ... I think "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" are the closest to a three-dimensional character on screen [I've played]. They're not flamboyant, but those people are recognizable human beings. They're not postures. What I mean is not dramatic but real. You can do it inside any genre. Even Harrison Ford made something personal in the first "Raiders," Robert Shaw in "Jaws," and Richard Dreyfus in "Close Encounters": You can do it in big drama, and in a little tiny art film, It's just a question of whether or not there's something alive being photographed or something dead. That's the question. I love talking about this stuff. It sounds pretentious, but I really enjoy it. The funny thing about me, I do this for a living, but I'm also a huge fan of movies, studying them, what makes them good and bad.
[on if he thinks its possible to have a favorite movie, or does it change over time or based on your mood at the time] - To me, Fanny and Alexander (1982) is one of the greatest films of all times. What I love about movies - and literature - is that a lot of it is about the mood you're in. Saturday afternoon or July 4th with my son, it's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). I personally find it incredibly fun with my wife to see Scene from a Marriage (2012) and talk afterwards. You want different things from different movies depending on who you are. Sometimes, you want your soul to be fed and to believe someone really cares. Do you remember the scene in Dead Poets Society (1989) where Robin Williams rips the pages out of the book and says there's no right way to write a f**king poem? Well, there's no right way to make a movie. People use money as a barometer to judge a film, but it's really a barometer to judge the advertising department of that film. I'm old enough to see movies get bad reviews and go on to succeed years later. Casino (1995) was wildly underrated because it came out after Goodfellas (1990).
Gattaca (1997) could barely find one sentence to put on the quote above the poster. We didn't have one "A" review. And now that movie comes up every day in my life, some art director referencing the design, or some politician at a dinner party talking about cloning. The first two weeks after that movie came out, I thought no one would remember it. It's funny what movies make it at the time and which ones don't and which ones pass the test of time.
|Training Day (2001)||$12,000,000|
|Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)||$3,000,000|
(2002) Release of his book, "Ash Wednesday: A Novel".
(1996) Release of his novel, "The Hottest State".
(June 2009) Appearing in the widely acclaimed off-Broadway projects "The Winter's Tale" (Shakespeare) and "The Cherry Orchard" (Chekhov) directed by Sam Mendes, which stars Simon Russell Beale, Sinéad Cusack, Josh Hamilton and Rebecca Hall.
(February 2009) Starring in two plays directed by Sam Mendes - "The Winter's Tale" (Shakespeare) and "The Cherry Orchard" (Chekhov) - as part of the transatlantic "Bridge Project". The company also include Simon Russell Beale, Sinéad Cusack, Josh Hamilton and Rebecca Hall.
(February 2010) Directing the first major Off-Broadway revival of Sam Shepard's award-winning play "A Lie of the Mind" in New York City.
(February 2012) Chelsea, New York City, New York: Acting
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