Ethan Hawke: Being able to grow and maintain charge even as you grow older is my dream. Thanks to the pandemic, I got to know better who I was

What have you been doing in the last 18 months?

For the last ten years I have been in a terrible circle, I have worked a lot and hard. And when you break out of that merry-go-round, the various work projects you enjoyed end up, you start to get restless. I was filming, but it forced me to take a personal inventory. For example, I have found that I have built a large part of my self-esteem at work and that it is necessary to realize that this is only one part of your personality. It was great to spend more time with my family and ask myself who I am when I’m not working. That’s a question I haven’t asked myself since I was twenty.

Is it important to you that you are ancestrally related to Tennessee Williams, one of America’s greatest playwrights, the author of Glass Zoo or The Desire Station Tram?

No one who lived in our house, such as my grandparents, was involved in art. There has been only one artistic personality in our history. Tennessee Williams. It was him. My grandmother used to say he was weird.

What exactly were your family relationships like?

He was my grandfather’s cousin. They said they didn’t know what to think of him. At least they thought he was very strange.

And he was weird.

Yes, he was a very radical figure. But when I was young, its existence gave me a signal that perhaps it would be possible to make a living from art. And it doesn’t matter how good an actor I am, because I’ll never be as good as Tennessee Williams was in my field anyway. So there was a pretty funny challenge over me. But at the same time, it was great to feel that there was such a thing as artistic integrity.

Speaking of a theater you’ve been playing since you were young and very intense, you have a lot of theater awards, you’ve played Hamlet: I really wanted to see you on Broadway in a 2019 production by another famous American playwright, Sam Shepard. You played one of the two main roles in his play The West West – what are you interested in?

Well, well, things are temporary. Among other things, it is extremely interesting about Sam Shepard’s work that silence remains part of his dialogue. He used to be a drummer, you really feel the rhythm in his writing. He masters the art of creating a pause, a long silence that lasts until a thousand people in the auditorium start coughing and making more sounds. My teammate Paul Dano and I enjoyed our work with the audience immensely, playing with his silence and his laughter. At the time, I didn’t realize how great it was to be able to communicate with a thousand people at once. That the energy of a live performance is definitely not a matter of course.

Is there a new project in your head and in Richard Linklater’s head?

You see, I corresponded with him just last night, because he loves the Karlovy Vary festival. He talked to me about the Warsaw audience, how many young people go to the movies here. How great it felt to see that so many young people care about movies and at the same time so many weird people buy maserati here – that it’s a very weird mix of energies…

So what are your plans?

We have one big project that we are working on and we want to implement it for many years. So we have a few small projects we dream of, and this one one is big. Rick wants me to play a 19th-century American romantic and transcendentalist; his name was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Margaret Fuller, a journalist, critic and advocate of women’s rights, and, of course, the poet Henry David Thoreau, will also play a role there. It will simply be a film about American transcendentalists, the first American radical thinkers. They were abolitionists, women’s rights advocates, and vegetarians, so they were very wild people at one time. It would be interesting if we took the energy you feel in Slackers, Stunned and Confused or in the Before tri trilogy, if we took that love of life, that joy and spontaneity, and could apply everything to a topic as strong as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Preserve the youthful wildness, but at the same time use what we have learned…


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