Actor/writer/director Ethan Hawke did a well-received AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit yesterday. A few highlights follow. On privacy and family:
My kids and I always have a debate about if the positives outweigh the negatives. Great seats to the Nicks game vs. being hounded for autographs at halftime. Every give has a take. For me, the blessings far outweigh the curses. I consider it a kind of luxury tax. For my family, I think it’s more difficult; they don’t get to work with Denzel Washington and Sidney Lumet, but they still have the paparazzi.
On Nicolas Cage:
I’m kind of obsessed with Nic Cage. I just found out about /r/onetruegod too. He’s the only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art of acting; he’s successfully taken us away from an obsession with naturalism into a kind of presentation style of acting that I imagine was popular with the old troubadours. If I could erase his bottom half bad movies, and only keep his top half movies, he would blow everyone else out of the water. He’s put a little too much water in his beer, but he is still one of the great actors of our time. And working with him was an absolute pleasure. In fact, one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever done is the last scene in LORD OF WAR.
On hobbies and work:
No… I’m so lucky, so much of what I would do as a hobby I do for my professional life. I love what I do. And I get to shake it up by directing in a movie, acting in a movie, directing a play, writing a book, acting in a play - i’ve found a way over the years to continue to shake up my job so it remains interesting to me. I’m one of the handful of people who doesn’t want a hobby because I’d rather be doing my job.
And on the one thing he would change in his life:
I don’t want to say. You know, the things that we want to change about our lives are things we don’t want everybody to know, and one of the most difficult things for me was having to learn in front of the public that having a reputation is a double-edged sword. It prevents me from making a first impression. I feel like I haven’t made a first impression on anyone in 20 years. There are many things about my life and my behavior that I wish I could change, situations I wish I could have handled better, relationships I could have healed, but unfortunately the earth seems to turn one way and all we can do is try to learn.
Hawke lives in my neighborhood and I see him every once in awhile on the street and at the playground. That “I haven’t made a first impression on anyone in 20 years” makes me want to give him a hug the next time I see him.