“I think it’s my job to risk looking foolish. One of the things I’ve learned from the actors I’ve worked with is you don’t get something for nothing. If you don’t risk looking foolish, you’ll never do anything special.” Ethan Hawke
Those quotes are from the article Ethan Hawke says ‘Daybreakers’ is no ‘Twilight’: ‘It’s a post-adolescent vampire film’ by Yvonne Villarreal [Los Angeles Times January 7, 2010].
Villarreal continues :
It’s a role [in “Daybreakers”] about as far as you can get from his Broadway gig performing a nine-hour stage trilogy of Tom Stoppard’s plays, “The Coast of Utopia,” about mid-19th century Russian radicals. And that’s what attracted him.
“There’s some kind of actors that can radically change who they are from movie to movie,” Hawke said. “I’ve never really been that kind of actor. I enjoy changing the worlds that I’m in.”
“I’ve been fortunate to be working in the film business for almost 25 years by doing a lot of different things,” he said. “You can’t only do cop pictures and you can’t only do little art-house movies. . . . I kind of figured if I keep trying different things, eventually I would accumulate some kind of learning.”
The learning extends beyond the big screen.
He’s tackled television, guest starring in an episode of ABC’s “Alias,” and is part of the small-screen adaptation of “Moby Dick,” an upcoming two-part miniseries in which he plays Starbuck. And he’s toiled on countless stages, appearing — and directing — numerous theater productions including “Henry IV” and “Hurlyburly.” “The theater, for me, has always been a place where I’m free to be more creative,” he said. “A place to sharpen my tools.”
Music video director? Yes, that too. He directed songstress Lisa Loeb’s music video for “Stay (I Missed You)” in 1994; the hit song was featured on the “Reality Bites” soundtrack. Oh, and he’s written two novels — “The Hottest State” and “Ash Wednesday”; both garnered mixed reviews.
There’s a method to all the madness. “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,” he said. “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. That’s the luxury tax.”
[Photo: Ethan Hawke plays vampire scientist Edward Dalton in Daybreakers.]
Hawke’s pursuit of multiple talents and passions is a characteristic of many highly talented people – a quality described by Barbara Sher as the Scanner Personality. See her article Are You A Scanner?