Ethan Hawke reacts to his 'Before Midnight' Oscar nod and tells us what to expect from 'Boyhood'
Ethan Hawke picked up his third nomination to date this morning and his second nomination from the writers branch for co-penning the screenplay for Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight." It's a special mention for the actor because he, Linklater and his co-star and co-writer Julie Delpy were chalked up nearly a decade ago for the very same nomination for "Before Sunset."
Interestingly enough, a year before production began on that 2004 mid-section to what has come to be one of the most unique trilogies in cinema, Hawke and Linklater kicked off a whole other experiment that will finally be unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday night. "Boyhood," filmed over the course of 12 years, will tell a story of childhood and growing up, the years ticking by as Linklater and his team revisited the story consistently throughout that span of time, ending up with what will be another unique glimpse at the drama and minutiae of everyday life, the very purview of Linklater throughout his career.
Hawke hopped on the phone this morning to react to his Oscar nomination and to tell us what we can expect from "Boyhood" when it premieres this weekend. Check out the back and forth below.
HitFix: Hey man.
Ethan Hawke: Hey, Kris, how are you?
Good to talk to you.
Yeah, you, too. And thanks for that nice article you wrote.
It was a lot of fun to put that one together and focus so much on the writing, which is what you were recognized for today, so congratulations.
Thanks. I appreciate that.
Do you consider yourself a writer?
Um, I wonder if — what an interesting question. Because I write a lot. I've written novels and I write all the time. I've been acting since I was 13, so my identity is kind of rooted in that. But I do. I guess the real answer is that I do. The funny thing is that people always think that these things are so different, but I think there are a great many actors who love writing and are great writers. Because so much of acting is about sharing writing. But anyway, yeah. I'm always hesitant to say it, but yeah, I guess I do.
It's interesting because it's such a thing to kind of identify with. I remember when "Before Sunset" got the nomination nearly 10 years ago, I thought it was great that the three of you were credited as writers. How did that happen?
It happened on the first movie. What happened on the first movie is Rick and Kim Krizan had written a rough draft of a screenplay, something Rick wanted to use as a jumping off point. What he was really aiming to do was make a movie using the two actors and make a film about a connection between two people, which we knew would be incredibly hard to do, if we knew that's what the movie was going to be about. It's like, what's that connection. So what we did is for about four or five weeks in Vienna when we were 24 years old, Julie and I, we chatted with Rick in a room and we re-wrote his script. And it was incredibly fun and exciting. Rick really empowered us and he really believed in us as filmmakers. He wanted this to be a movie that, when it was done, we felt like it was all our film. Lots of people are encouraging and ask you to be a part of something, but they never ask you to have vision. Rick was asking us to actually have vision and contribute. So when the first movie was over, we were uncredited because — it never really came up. The script was a pre-existing script and that made sense. But after it was over, Julie and I were really encouraged. Julie went off and wrote her own movies and I wrote a book. We both felt really excited by writing and the possibilities of it, and believed in ourselves in a new way. Then Rick asked us to contribute on 'Waking Life' and we came in and all wrote our scene in "Waking Life." We talked about the themes and where Jesse and Celine would be if they were in a dream. At the end of that we all went out to dinner and said, 'You know what? We should all write a movie together. The three of us.' And we did.