Ethan Hawke is better known for his eclectic artistic tastes than his mainstream box-office successes. But the indie stalwart and Broadway veteran recently added a new dimension to his resume with his starring role in The Purge, a violent high-concept thriller that connected with moviegoers to become the weekend’s No. 1 movie. (What would Troy Dyer from Reality Bites think?)
In the latest twisted tale from producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Hawke plays a successful home-security-system salesman whose gated community wares are especially in-demand in the near future, when the government sanctions an annual cathartic “holiday” where citizens can murder and pillage with impunity. When a hunted man seeks refuge in his locked-down house, and a masked mob demands he turn the uninvited guest over, Hawke’s character has to decide what kind of man he really is.
Audiences flocked to theaters to experience this deliciously nasty puzzle, to the tune of $34.1 million, giving Hawke two of the most interesting movies currently in theaters. In addition to The Purge, Hawke stars in Before Midnight, the third chapter of his ongoing romantic conversation with Julie Delpy for director Richard Linklater. Since premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, critics have swooned and audiences are packing theaters in its limited release, to the tune of more than $10,000 per theater last weekend. When it expands to more theaters on Friday, he’ll likely have two movies in the box office top-10.
But Ethan Hawke hasn’t changed his stripes. He’s planning to play Macbeth on the stage at Lincoln Center this fall, and he and Richard Linklater are also on the verge of completing a unique 12-year project tentatively titled Boyhood. The pair have been filming a story about the year-by-year maturation of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) for more than a decade, with Hawke playing the boy’s father. “When I did my first scene with Ellar, he was 7,” says Hawke. “Now he’s 18. This is just part of his life. It’s like his own little private acting club.”
EW checked in with the actor in the midst of his triumphant weekend to discuss his place in Hollywood, and how it feels to be No. 1. READ FULL STORY »