Ethan Hawke Gets Candid on Fame, Filmmaking and What He Learned From ‘Reality Bites’

Variety | 8/15/2018 | Brent Lang
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When Ethan Hawke was 24, he became a Gen X pinup thanks to “Reality Bites.”

As Troy Dyer, a good-looking slacker and aspiring musician with a wisp of a Van Dyke beard and a duffel bag full of unearned wisdom about life and materialism, Hawke defined the fears and hopes of young adults in the MTV era. But fame had a stultifying quality for the actor, who says he had trouble coming to terms with the success of the 1994 romantic comedy-drama.

Gasoline - Fire - Confusion - Hawke - People

“When you’re in your early 20s and you’re still struggling to find out who you are, it pours gasoline on the fire of confusion,” says Hawke. “You don’t know north or south, east or west. Some people hated the [‘Reality Bites’] character and they hated me, or they loved the character and they loved me. I didn’t know enough about acting then to understand what was going on.”

The concept of fame, both its irresistible allure and the scorpion sting it can deliver to those who achieve it, drives the action in Hawke’s two upcoming films, “Blaze” and “Juliet, Naked.” It’s easy to see the movies as part of a larger effort by the 47-year-old actor to make sense of his own celebrity. “Juliet, Naked” finds him playing a middle-aged rocker named Tucker Crowe who turned his back on the klieg lights and is now living in relative obscurity. Crowe reminds Hawke of Dyer two decades after the events of “Reality Bites.”

Blaze - Hawke - Centers - Blaze - Foley

“Blaze,” which Hawke wrote and directed (but does not act in), centers on Blaze Foley, a country music singer-songwriter and intimate of Townes Van Zandt who barely managed to build a cult following. Foley’s trajectory — the musician’s drinking and self-destructiveness cost him a shot at the big time — couldn’t be further removed from Hawke’s own experience: The actor...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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