Saturday, October 08, 2005

Regarding Ethan Hawke

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Ethan Hawke is worthwhile and glorious. There, I said it. I'm sick of defending him to hipsters ironically molded by the postures he embalmed in his jaded-boho-slacker-intellectual role in Reality Bites. The Guardian UK profiled him recently. Just look at how charming, intelligent, cool and well-adjusted he seems to be.

>>Regarding his attractiveness:
Dressed in jeans and a tracksuit jacket, he is, surprisingly, more handsome than he appears on screen.

>>Regarding his reprised role as Jesse in Before Sunset:
"He's feeling these incredible things for her, and he's an incredibly unhappy guy at that moment in his life. She's an oasis, of sorts," he says, "and whether it's substantive or just lust ... Well, I feel it's a pretty subversive thing to do in the United States of America, when you want the guy to cheat on his wife at the end of the movie. In Tom Hanks's America, in Steven Spielberg's America, I felt really proud of that."

>>Regarding the Julia Roberts School of Acting:
"The person who's had the most impact on acting since Marlon Brando," he says, "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 [a Texan Democrat], 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."

>>Regarding writing fiction, failure, curiosity:
"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. The general assumption was that I wanted to be taken seriously. And I understood that, but I knew my own aim - I wanted the experience. I knew if I wanted to be taken seriously, I should stay an actor, because I'm a good actor. And it seemed like a lot of fun. You've got to be curious in this life. You've got to be a little enthusiastic. I mean, you need a willingness to fail. You've got to be willing to fall on your face once in a while. And then there was a rude awakening: hey, man, the whole world isn't here to kiss your ass and tell you you're wonderful. I'm grateful for it."


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