Ethan Hawke on career longevity: 'You gotta get your hands dirty'

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It’s always fascinating to hear seasoned actors talk about how they navigate their careers. Ethan Hawke has had three movies in theaters this year: The critically-acclaimed Before Midnight, the surprise horror hit The Purge, and the fast-car flick Getaway, which opens today and costars Selena Gomez. As Hawke explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly managing editor Jess Cagle on EW’s Sirius XM channel this week, at some point, he realized he wasn’t a “shapeshifting” character actor — guys like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Vincent D’Onofrio, for example, who embody different people so you don’t recognize them from one role to the next. So he decided he’d push himself by acting in different genres. “So, okay, let’s do Sinister. That director [Scott Derrickson] is crazy smart. He knows what he’s doing. He loves horror movies. I don’t know much about horror movies, but I know a talented person and I know he has something to say. He can use that medium and that genre to do something affecting in the same way that Richard Linklater can make a drama and they’re both unique voices in cinema. And that’s what I kinda chase.”

Why do Getaway? “When I was a kid, I did [1991's] White Fang,” Hawke says. “The people who liked White Fang were, like, 12 at the time — well, they all grow up. They all grow up, and they grow up with you. And I have a feeling that you do a movie like Getaway, and kinda the hope is that you make a fun movie for young people, and I’ll be kinda like the Lee Marvin — I’m the old guy now…. ‘Who’s the old guy with Selena Gomez?’ It’s like, ‘Oh, he’s all right.’ But there’s a whole group of people [who] don’t care about Before Midnight or they don’t know what Reality Bites meant in 1994, you know. If I want to keep working and having something relevant to say, you gotta get your hands dirty. And it’s really hard. You talk about balancing a career — it’s the most difficult thing that they can’t teach you in acting school.”

Listen to the full interview below.

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