Celebrities in Classics – Ethan Hawke



** Dedicated to Laura @ Reading In Bed

WHO IS IT?  Ethan Hawke is an actor I have known since childhood. Starting with Explorers in 1985 right through to watching Moby Dick one month ago, I have followed his movie career almost my entire life. Ethan has been in so many good movies it hurts: Dead Poet’s Society, Reality Bites, Alive, Gattaca, Great Expectations. I even like movies you wouldn’t typically associate with him such as Taking Lives and Assault on Precinct 13. Not all of his performances have been stellar, but he’s a hard worker. You can always rely on Ethan to give a movie everything he’s got.

WHY I LOVE THIS ACTOR:  When I was in my early twenties, I was pretty sure Ethan Hawke was the perfect guy. He was a renaissance man: an actor, a reader, a writer, a thinker and oh so very hip in a quintessential Gen-X fashion. I still admire Ethan because he is never afraid to experiment or take the unbeaten path. He has worked on personal projects with mixed success, but it has never stopped him from trying and trying again.

FIRST ENCOUNTER:  I first saw Ethan in Explorers, a cute science fiction/fantasy movie about three boys who create a spaceship. At the time, River Phoenix was my crush, so I didn’t pay that much attention to Ethan even though he was the main character.ethan

MY FAVE CLASSICS MOVIE: At the moment, my favourite classic adaptation of Ethan’s is his turn playing Starbuck in Moby Dick. He brought everything I wanted to see in the book to life on screen, especially Starbuck’s frustration, indecision and fear. He has some great scenes with William Hurt who plays Captain Ahab that expands on the relationship between the two characters.

SPECIAL MENTION:  I can’t write a profile about Ethan Hawke without mentioning the impact on me by the Before trilogy he created with director, Richard Linklater, and actress, Julie Delpy. I have yet to see Before Midnight (must get on this right away), but Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) hit movie theatres when I needed them most. As if my life was on the same trajectory at the characters. Not much happens except a lot of talking, as the characters share their thoughts about love, relationships and their lives. In Before Sunrise, the characters are young and love is whole new world to discover. Nine years later in Before Sunset, the characters are jaded and defensive after failed relationships, and love looks a lot less magical. Before Midnight picks up the story eighteen years later when the characters are married with kids, so I’m very interested to see where life has taken them, what they think about love now and what parallels there are to my own life.


1991 – White Fang ~ Jack Conroy
1998 – Great Expectations ~ Finnegan ‘Finn’ Bell
1999 – Snow Falling on Cedars ~ Ishmael Chambers
2000 – Hamlet ~ Hamlet
2011 – Moby Dick ~ Starbuck

See Ethan’s complete filmography at Wikipedia.

GREAT QUOTE: The great power of literature is to expand our vision. “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is a case in point. You feel as if Baldwin bled over this book, that this book hurt to write. It’s not a memoir; it’s somebody taking very real feelings and turning them into art. He writes evocatively, but you don’t need to have a graduate degree to understand his books-you just need to have a heart.

Who are your favourite Celebrities in Classics? Link your post for this feature here.


One comment on “Celebrities in Classics – Ethan Hawke

  1. Pingback: Celebrities in Classics – Jude Law | ebookclassics

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Headlines and tagged , .

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