Ethan Hawke Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (54)  | Personal Quotes (60)  | Salary (3)

Overview (3)

Born in Austin, Texas, USA
Birth NameEthan Green Hawke
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ethan Green Hawke was born on November 6, 1970 in Austin, Texas, to Leslie Carole (Green), a charity worker, and James Steven Hawke, an insurance actuary. His parents were students at the University of Texas at the time but divorced when Ethan was 5 years old. 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 adolescent adventure, Explorers (1985). He got the role (along with River Phoenix) but although the movie was favourably reviewed, it met with little commercial success which discouraged Hawke from pursuing further movie roles for several years.

He was admitted to the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon University to study theatre but his studies were interrupted when he won his break-through role opposite Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989) and he did not complete his degree. He then appeared in numerous films before taking a role in the Generation X drama Reality Bites (1994) for which he received critical praise. He starred in the romantic drama Before Sunrise (1995), and its later sequels Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013).

His subsequent acting career was a mix of theatre work (earning a number of awards and nominations, including a Tony Award 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). His role as the father in the coming-of-age drama Boyhood (2014) earned him multiple award nominations, including the Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Meanwhile, he also wrote two novels: "The Hottest State" (1996) and "Ash Wednesday" (2002).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges

Family (3)

Spouse Ryan Hawke (21 June 2008 - present)  (2 children)
Uma Thurman (1 May 1998 - 20 July 2004)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Clementine Jane Hawke
Indiana Hawke
Maya Hawke
Levon Hawke
Parents Leslie Hawke
Hawke, James Steven

Trade Mark (4)

In later roles, meek and mild-manner demeanor
In 1990s roles, a prototypical Gen X rebel/outsider
Often sports a goatee in his films
Frequently collaborating with Richard Linklater

Trivia (54)

Attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School in central New Jersey, but is not pictured in the yearbook (1984-1986).
Attended and graduated from the Hun School of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey (1988).
Published his first novel, "The Hottest State" (1996). The novel sold for $400,000 to Little, Brown and Company. A decade later, wrote & directed a film adaptation: The Hottest State (2006).
Was in a production of "Great Expectations" at West Windsor Plainsboro High School.
Was accepted by Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Drama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but dropped out after only 5 months.
Proposed to ex-wife Uma Thurman twice before she said yes.
Childhood friends with director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects (1995), X-Men (2000)).
His cat appeared in Lisa Loeb's music video "Stay (I Missed You)", which he directed.
Has appeared in two film adaptations of William Wharton novels: Dad (1989) and A Midnight Clear (1992).
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.
Met and became friends with River Phoenix during the making of Explorers (1985).
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".
Remains close friends with Dead Poets Society (1989) co-stars, Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles. Because of that movie's theme - triumph of the human spirit - Hawke laughingly refers to it as "One Flew Over the Robin's Nest" (due in part to Robin Williams's starring role).
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.
Close friends with actor/director Frank Whaley, whom he met while filming A Midnight Clear (1992).
On Father's Day 2004, he went to a New York Yankees game with his children.
Is a huge fan of the Star Wars movie series.
Co-founded the now-defunct theater company called "Malaparte" with Robert Sean Leonard, Frank Whaley and Steve Zahn.
Very good friends with Catalina Sandino Moreno and Julie Delpy.
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.
Turned down the role of Bobby Mercer in Four Brothers (2005). He loved the script but could not commit to this because of scheduling conflicts. The role eventually went to Mark Wahlberg.
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 huge fan of the rock band Wilco.
Five Easy Pieces (1970), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Reds (1981) are among his favorite films.
To prepare for his role in the film version of Hamlet (2000), he spent the summer before filming attending three study sessions a week with a friend who had played the role 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 attend NYU and study English (he dropped out when a role 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.
He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in Austin, Texas. [March 2004]
He was considered for the role of Gordie Lachance in Rob Reiner's Stand by Me (1986), which went to Wil Wheaton.
He was considered for the role of Sean Dignam in Martin Scorsese's The Departed (2006), which went to Mark Wahlberg.
Former brother-in-law of Dechen Thurman, Ganden Thurman, & Mipam Thurman.
Former son-in-law of Robert Thurman & Nena Thurman.
Son of James 'Jim' Steven Hawke & Leslie Hawke. They divorced in 1974.
He has English, as well as Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and Cornish, ancestry.
Became a father for the first time at age 27 when his wife Uma Thurman gave birth to their daughter Maya Ray Hawke, aka Maya Hawke, on July 8, 1998.
Became a father for the second time at age 31 when his wife Uma Thurman gave birth to their son Levon Green Hawke, aka Levon Hawke, on January 15, 2002.
Became a father for the third time at age 37 when his wife Ryan Hawke gave birth to their daughter Clementine Jane Hawke on July 18, 2008.
Has appeared in two film adaptations of Shakespearean plays which were set in the present day: Hamlet (2000) and Cymbeline (2014).
He played Sam Shepard's son in both Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) and Hamlet (2000).
Has appeared in eight films directed by Richard Linklater: Before Sunrise (1995), The Newton Boys (1998), Waking Life (2001), Tape (2001), Before Sunset (2004), Fast Food Nation (2006), Before Midnight (2013) and Boyhood (2014).
Has appeared in three films that have been Oscar nominated for Best Picture: Dead Poets Society (1989), Quiz Show (1994), and Boyhood (2014).
Currently resides in New York City. [February 2012]
Became a father for the fourth time at age 40 when his wife Ryan Hawke gave birth to their daughter Indiana Hawke on July 23, 2011.
Stepson of David Weiss. Former stepson of Patrick Powers. Has five stepsisters & one stepbrother.
He was offered the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Forever (1995) but turned it down as he didn't want to be typecast in the role. He later admitted to regretting turning it down due to the valuable career opportunities it could have led to.
His six favorite films of all time are: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Apocalypse Now (1979), Reds (1981) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982).
Revealed in Rolling Stone (March 1995) that he auditioned for the role of Paul Maclean in A River Runs Through It (1992) but director Robert Redford believed Hawke was too young for the part. Brad Pitt was cast instead.
Supports LGBT rights.
Identifies as a feminist.

Personal Quotes (60)

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.
Acting was something that came very easily to me. It fell in my lap. But the people I admired the most were not really movie stars. I was full of Jack London and Jack Kerouac.
[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 anymore?".
[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 role 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 Indiana Jones and the 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) 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 (1975) or Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) or DeNiro in Taxi Driver (1976)": These are the iconic roles where people have really succeeded.

... I think Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) 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 (1975) and Richard Dreyfuss 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 Indiana Jones and the 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.
[on the Before trilogy] The first film is about what could be, the second is about what should have been. Before Midnight (2013) is about what it is.
[on Before Midnight (2013)] We needed to try to address the harder, more difficult aspects of daily life and what it means when you get what you want, and what you do with what you want when you have it, and do you still want it?
[on the late Robin Williams] Good Will Hunting (1997). He was such a dad in that. He was such a mentor. There's that great moment when he says, "You think you know what it's like to be an adult because you think you can intellectually understand, but you didn't live any of these things. You don't really know anything about that..." - and it always stayed with me. Like we all think we're smarter than our parents. And The Fisher King (1991), he was amazing. I'll never forget seeing "Fisher King" and walking home and just being blown away. But, he's been a part of my psyche, obviously. I've had a picture from Dead Poets Society (1989) over my desk my whole life. It's a present Peter Weir gave us of Robin and the seven poets and a poem, I think it's a Randall Gerald poem. But, it's terrible. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin in one year.
[on the late Robin Williams] I remember the first time I ever felt like I had actually had the experience of acting. Seymour: An Introduction (2014) said this thing during the Q&A earlier that when you're playing well - he's talking about playing piano - you don't feel like you're playing; you feel like you're being played. Somehow, it's like you're not breathing; you're being breathed. And the first time I ever had that feeling was with Robin Williams. We had this scene, "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." And it's etched in my brain as him standing in front of me, writing "yawp" on the chalkboard, and he said, "Todd doesn't think he has anything of value inside him." That scene is pretty much shot in one take. It's cut a little bit, but Peter Weir shot it on a Steadicam spinning around us. I remember Robin hugging me after that scene was over. It's a high I've been chasing the rest of my life. I mean, the last 25 years since then or whatever. It's also something that's absolutely heartbreaking and tragic, about the person who taught you the expression "Carpe diem," taking his own life. You know, there's something really terrible about that. But, he was always - for every great high, there is a low. And he was a person who experienced tremendous personal highs. I mean, being around him, you felt the epic swings in his state of mind. Even at 18, I was with it enough to sense those. So, I feel for him and I feel for his family.
The older you get, the humbler you get, the more life kind of rips you open and the more responsible you feel - both to your art and to the audience's time, and wanting to do a good job. Sometimes the harder you try to hit a baseball, the more you miss. And the same metaphor applies to all of life.
Looking for mentorship and leadership is a big part of every young man's life. We want to not be at sea, and we want to not be lost.
[on whether he is ever tempted to abandon performing ] I think there's a healthy part of anyone who's a professional actor that has a little Greta Garbo in them.
[on preparing thank-you speeches for the Oscars] It always annoys me when people don't. If you're nominated, there's a 1-in-5 chance that you might have to talk. It's such a bore to listen to ''I should have planned a speech". That said, I totally didn't have a speech planned this year [2015] because I knew exactly who was going to win my prize.
[on Before Sunset (2004)] A couple of years after we'd finished Before Sunrise (1995) we met and we worked on Waking Life (2001) together, and we had a ball doing that, so it seemed kind of obvious when that was over that we should collaborate again. It always occurred to me it would be a fun thing to revisit, but at the time, Before Sunrise was probably the lowest-grossing movie in history to have a sequel! We cared more about that movie than anyone else did. And when we finished the second one I felt very strongly that we needed a third one; that as beautiful as the ending to Before Sunset is, it's a call that begs for an answer.
[on Before Midnight (2013)] The first two films are all about romantic projection, and we had this idea for the third film to really try to explore what happens when you get everything you want. There are a lot of movies about break-ups, and a lot of movies about people falling in love, but very few made about a couple who've been together ten years. It was something really interesting to me, to visit people in the middle of their lives, who still believe in their craving for love, but they're not kids anymore, and life can't be about what might be, it has to be about what is happening. That's much deeper water to swim in.
[2016, on the possibility of a fourth Before film] You never know. There is this symmetry to these three, there's something beautiful about the way the third one ends with the couple fighting, and the first one begins with the couple in their forties fighting. There's something about it that feels done. That doesn't mean that there isn't a new beginning, a new chapter...
[2017 interview] Romania is producing some of the most exciting works of cinema happening today. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) is one of the most riveting movies made anywhere in the world in my lifetime, not just my favorite Romanian movie. I had never heard of Cristian Mungiu when my mother insisted I go see '4,3,2' with her when she was visiting NY 10 years ago. I was blown away.
One of the first acting jobs I had was White Fang (1991) where I had to act with this wolf. And it's kind of the greatest teacher I ever had because the wolf doesn't act. The wolf just deals with the circumstances that are in front of it. If you start 'acting' with the wolf the wolf gets totally freaked out and wonders why you're so weird. So when parts are well-written you can disappear into them.
[on coming from a church-going family] The wonderful thing about my exposure to the religious community was that my mother and father had very different opinions about things and it created not one rigid attitude in my brain. As a young person, I couldn't betray my mother and I couldn't betray my father, and so I had to have a very supple and limber relationship to faith and became kind of allergic to dogma and zealotry...I would consider myself a transcendentalist, if I had to put a label on it.
[on First Reformed (2017)] In the script, Paul Schrader describes all the books on Toller's bedside table, and they were all books my mother had given me in my life. So I was like, "Oh, I think I'm supposed to do this movie." What I think Paul articulated was a spiritual cry, or some kind of crisis. What's happening with the environment, I think a lot of people don't know what to do, or say, or think about it, it's almost too scary to look at. And Paul just stares at it, and he gives it voice, and that's what I felt when I read the script. I remember saying to my wife, "I'd make this movie on an iPhone if we had to." There was something spooky about the whole project to me. In a way that whenever anything feels right in my life, there's always something spooky about it. You know when you make eye contact with your baby for the first time and you feel like you know this person already? It's that kind of strange feeling of, "Ah, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I've been preparing for this, and I didn't even know it."
[2018 interview, on the possibility of a fourth Before film] I would be surprised if we never revisited those characters, and I would be surprised if we did it anytime soon. I have a feeling that they will be revisited.....I love those movies - those movies are really dear to my heart - and the idea of making a bad one or a superfluous one would be very disappointing to me. Those movies happened because Rick and Julie and I all were thinking the same thought and they kind of came out of us, and when that happens again, we'll write another movie together.
One of the things about working with Denzel Washington is he's a great actor. And great actors are different in that it takes a tremendous amount of confidence to be present with somebody who is so fully actualized in their art the way that he is. I had a lot of fun on Training Day (2001) and I'm really proud of that movie. But it was challenging, not in a way like, "I gotta figure out what's in my character's pockets, I gotta do all this research", or something like that. But it was challenging in showing up for work every day and really doing my best in representing that character, with Denzel. I really had a great time on that movie, and it was challenging. I had to find my own way of protecting the integrity of my character because he was going to make his material work. But when you did it, he really appreciated it. He would really appreciate somebody protecting the integrity of their character because it gave him something to spark off of. But if you're going to just be a doormat, he'll just run right over you.
I'm not that good of an actor that is like Daniel Day-Lewis or Robert De Niro or Philip Seymour Hoffman - people that really shape-change themselves - I've always been what I call kind of a first person actor, as opposed to a third person - someone who transforms themselves into a character. I'm always trying to make it real for me: What would I be in this situation? Whether that's a good idea or not, it's the only way I know. But one of the things that helps me be stronger is to be in different kinds of movies, because if I'm always playing Jesse in Before Midnight (2013) it's going to get pretty old pretty fast.
Most people are not film nerds, they're only gonna see a couple of movies a year, and awards help curate for the community what art films might be of value for people. And so it makes a huge difference in the life of the movie. Training Day (2001) and Boyhood (2014) gained a tremendous awareness through Denzel winning the Oscar and Boyhood being nominated for Best Picture. All that stuff elevates the way people think about a movie. And when it happens with an indie movie? It's like beating the system. It's like shooting a bullseye from a thousand yards. When a movie cracks the system like Boyhood does, and now First Reformed (2017), it feels like a miracle.
[2020 interview, asked what 5 films he would recommend someone to stream] Great question. I would recommend someone watch Two-Lane Blacktop (1971). Rumble Fish (1983)...I'm trying to think of some of the roads less travelled. The Right Stuff (1983). One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) is always a great one. Badlands (1973). Oh, one more - Reds (1981). That's a great movie.
[2020, on the possibility of a fourth Before film] If the first three were all nine years apart, the fourth would not follow that trajectory. Linklater would want a different path, either a short film set four years after 'Midnight' or a feature two decades in the future. We think about it. Those are three of the best experiences of my life: Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013). They're are a part of me, those movies. So the idea of revisiting it, I would have to really believe we could make something as good. I'm really proud of those movies and they worked because all three of us were making the exact same movie every time. When people make sequels just to be together...like Burt Reynolds just made sequels to party with those friends. They could make a million 'Cannonball' movies. You could tell they were having a great time. I wasn't sure if the audience was. We have to be careful, we enjoy working together and being together, but we need to make sure we have something to say.
I'm always astonished, you can go on Apple TV now and see that Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow made a movie together that I never heard of. What? And like, Matt Damon's in a Clint Eastwood movie I never heard of? So many things get lost in the cracks and if those big names are getting lost, where are the Gattacas of right now? It might be like other art forms where it might take 50 years to curate what's happening right now. That's why film festivals have become so important because you guys at film festivals are like curators of, like, what does the world need to be paying attention to. What should be seen? If we didn't have these festivals, big business would crush all these smaller movies. Now we have the problem that they tell us Logan (2017) is a great movie. Well, it's a great superhero movie. It still involves people in tights with metal coming out of their hands. It's not Bresson. It's not Bergman. But they talk about it like it is. I went to see Logan cause everyone was like, "This is a great movie" and I was like, "Really? No, this is a fine superhero movie." There's a difference but big business doesn't think there's a difference. Big business wants you to think that this is a great film because they wanna make money off of it.
[on working with Alejandro Amenábar on Regression (2015)] The truth is I went to meet him to tell him that I wasn't going to do the movie. But he's a very kind, and loving, and compelling person. I realized when I left the meeting that there aren't that many people who really have a voice behind the camera. And I just wasn't going to take it lightly that such a talented filmmaker wanted me to be in this movie. I've very rarely worked with somebody that had such a clear idea of what he wanted to do and what he wanted to achieve. The guy is incredibly prepared. He was clearly making a movie for himself and his own dream. I just tried to be a part of that dream. It's a rare opportunity. I don't have a lot of experiences like this where every time I thought I had a good idea it was totally wrong. If I had an idea about what this character would dress, it was the opposite of what Alejandro wanted. If I had an idea about what this character might say, it was the opposite of what Alejandro wanted. I had to give in completely and just try to make the movie he was trying to make. I really like working with people from other parts of the world. I had a great experience working with Alfonso Cuarón years ago. I worked with Jean-François Richet on Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), and Pawel Pawlikowski on The Woman in the Fifth (2011). I've learned a lot about movies by working with people who have a different vocabulary. If you grew up in Spain, you have a different vocabulary for cinema than somebody who grew up in Texas.
[on Gattaca (1997)] I think that movie is the real deal. Speaking of weird New York moments, I was waiting in line to pee at Shakespeare in the Park and was standing behind Bill Clinton - which was already weird, waiting in line to pee behind Bill Clinton. So, we go to the urinals and he leans over to me and whispers, "I loved Gattaca."

Salary (3)

Training Day (2001) $12,000,000
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) $3,000,000
Daybreakers (2009) $4,000,000

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed