Ethan Hawke on The Last Movie Stars and the Call That Hijacked His Life (Video)

When Ethan Hawke acquired a cellphone name from Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman’s daughter asking him to direct a documentary about her parents’ lives, he knew that he couldn’t say no — though it was an endeavor that may certainly “hijack” his life. So he buckled down and made The Last Movie Stars, out at the moment on HBO Max.

“I remember vividly. I answered the phone — I couldn’t believe it. I remember pacing my bedroom thinking, ‘I can’t do this,’” Ethan Hawke informed MovieMaker in a video interview, which you’ll watch above. “This is going to hijack my life, this phone call, you know? And I tried to figure out a way to very gracefully say no and recommend who I thought would be good at it. And I couldn’t get the word ‘no’ out of my mouth. And I think I tricked myself into thinking — you know how you do that sometimes — like, oh, yeah, I can run a marathon, it’ll be easy.”

Hawke hoped simply to make a feature-length documentary, however he ended up with a six episodes restricted sequence.

“The more I scratched the surface, the more interesting it became, and the more interesting their love affair became,” he mentioned. “Yes, they are remarkable actors. But it’s actually the love affair that demands the deep dive into a documentary, because their life and their community, seen through the lens of that love affair, becomes wildly interesting.”

The Last Movie Stars attracts on hours and hours of interviews with Newman, Woodward and their closest pals. But in the event you’re anticipating to listen to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s voices in the docuseries, you’re in for a shock. Yes, there’s tons of beautiful archival footage of the pair who had been as soon as Hollywood’s favourite couple — however due to a rash determination that lead Newman to burn all of the authentic audiotapes, the solely factor that continues to be from these interviews are meticulously typed-out transcripts.

But Ethan Hawke had an concept — why not hire a few of at the moment’s largest actors to learn the transcripts as in the event that they had been in a play?

Also Read: The Last Movie Stars Trailer: The Story of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward That Almost Wasn’t Told (Video)

So, he acquired George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, Burn After Reading) to learn for Newman and Laura Linney (Ozark, The Truman Show) to learn for Woodward. And the remainder of the voice cast is simply as star-studded, together with: Melanie Griffith (Body Double), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Sally Field (Forest Gump), Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick), Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Mark Ruffalo (13 Going on 30) Steve Zahn (Joy Ride), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (U.S. Marshals), and Oscar Isaac (Dune).

“I just followed my gut, you know? I really didn’t know how I was going to make this documentary. I didn’t know if that idea would work,” he mentioned.

But he knew Laura Linney, and he knew that she had identified Joanne Woodward personally and thought of her a mentor.

“I thought that Laura could speak for Joanne in a way that she might enjoy. And she’s such a beautiful actress, I knew that she could help the documentary through her insight and through her work,” he mentioned. “Likewise, I kind of thought, well, who’s a card-carrying icon who’s dealt with how hard it is to be shoved into that position, who’s political and outspoken? Clooney’s in the very rare air of what his life experience has brought him over the last 25 years, and you know, what he’s done as an actor and as a director and as a citizen of the world. I thought that he would really understand — he could speak for Paul in that way.”

Hawke acquired the remainder of the cast by calling on his pals. And he knew he wished Zoey Kazan to be concerned as a result of her grandfather, the famed movie and theater director Elia Kazan, had spent quite a lot of time and labored with Newman and Woodward.

“I didn’t want it to be me looking back on Paul and Joanne, I want it to be our generation looking back on the generation that came before us and see that we’re all connected,” Hawke mentioned.

Watch the full interview with Ethan Hawke above.

The Last Movie Stars premieres on HBO Max on July 21.

Main Image: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in THE DROWNING POOL directed by STUART ROSENBERG in 1975. Credit: WARNER BROTHERS / Album

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