Ethan Hawke is having quite a year. The Oscar-nominated actor kicked things off with a buzzy performance in Paul Schraeder’s thriller First Reformed, which is on track to pick up some serious attention as awards season draws near, he earned more critical acclaim as a famous rock star in the romantic comedy Juliet, Naked, and now, his directorial feature Blaze is in theaters across the nation
Hawke’s third directorial feaure is inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, a songwriting legend in devoted country music circles whose life was cut tragically short after a violent confrontation in a friend’s home. With Blaze, Hawke teamed with one of Foley’s great loves Sybil Rosen, who wrote the book Living in the Woods in a Tree about her time with the songwriter and co-wrote the film with Hawke, to commemorate Foley’s life and music on film.
With Blaze now in theaters,Hawke recently stopped by the Collider studio for a wide-ranging interview to discuss the film and the killer year he’s having. He talked about casting his friend, musician Ben Dickey, in his screen acting debut for the film, why he abandoned linear narrative for Foley’s story, and his collaboration with Rosen. He also discussed his “old-school” working relationship with Paul Schraeder on First Reformed, interpreting the film’s ambiguous ending, his shared admiration for Nicolas Cage, and how his viral Logan quotes were misinterpreted. Watch the full video below, followed by a breakdown of the topics discussed.
- Talks about the deep cut legend that Blaze Foley is in the country music community.
- When did he first learn about Blaze Foley?
- How did he decide that his friend, first-time film actor Ben Dickey, should take on the role?
- Why did he want to structure the film non-linearly?
- Talks about how songs and music transport people through time.
- What was it like working with co-writer Sybil Rosen on such a personal project?
- Was his collaboration with Paul Schraeder like on First Reformed?
- Did he have to commit to the one version of the truth to perform First Reformed’s ambiguous ending?
- How does he feel about the rise of industry-altering service like Netflix and Movie Pass?
- Discusses how the industry has changed since he started acting.
- What is it like to see a massive franchise grow out of a microbudget film like The Purge?
- Talks about his Logan quotes that went viral.
- Discusses his back-and-forth love fest with Nicolas Cage.
- How open is he to the idea of doing another Before film in another ten or twenty years?