Actor Ethan Hawke was once a bit concerned about the direction of the film industry. But he was skeptical about the world of television as well, which he wasn’t completely sure was a viable alternative.
Why Ethan Hawke once called television a false God
Hawke has usually been an actor seeking meaningful films to work on, with the paycheck not being his highest priority. He’s starred in almost every film genre that cinema has to offer, from action to sci-fi. This was intentional on Hawke’s part, who wanted his career to be broad and diverse.
“I love movies, and my hope is by the end to have created a little something good for everybody,” Hawke once told Fade In. “You like cop pictures? I got one! You like horror? Got it! Art films? Check. Shakespeare? Check. Western? Comedy? Coming right up!”
Hawke has also indulged in a lot of theater work during the course of his career. The actor considered himself a very open-minded performer. But one entertainment platform Hawke hadn’t tackled too much was television. He seemed impressed by some of the work done on the small screen. Still, he had his own reservations about television success.
“People are doing great work on TV? Great! But that’s a false God, in a way,” Hawke said. “The people who do Breaking Bad and Mad Men and the really exceptional TV? They’re really special. They’re really the exception.”
Hawke imagined what one of his own movies, Before Sunset, would look like if it was a televisions show instead of a film.
“If we had to do a Before Sunrise once a year, the quality would go down with a crash. It just would. We couldn’t do it. If [Before Sunset characters]Jesse and Celine had to do twenty-two episodes a year, our series would be boring as hell. Instead, it’s because we’ve been allowed to grow, and nurture, and breathe with the characters like we do that the quality goes up,” he said.
Ethan Hawke opened up on his worries about the film industry
Hawke started noticing a shift in the types of films being distributed over the years that raised his concerns. He felt major studies were becoming less willing to take risks with smaller projects. Hawke used one of his own movies to further illustrate his point.
“Remember, Before Sunrise was a f***ing studio film! Columbia Pictures made it. I doubt any studio in the last five years have made a two-point-seven million-dollar movie. They just don’t make that kind of movie,” Hawke argued.
He noted that his Before Sunrise film was moved to a section of the movie studio that focused on more independent projects.
Hawke felt more commercial projects were given higher priority to the film studio at the expense of smaller movies.
“We’re living in this age of big Hollywood budgets,” he said. “Leo [DiCaprio] and Baz [Luhrmann] are spending $200 million, the studios are only making, like, ten movies a year. At the same time, there’s this huge glut of movies made on flip-cams, aspiring indie movies, that can’t get released because we’re in this weird new environment.”
Ethan Hawke had his first main role in a television series with Marvel’s ‘Moon Knight’
Hawke had small roles in a few shows. But Moon Knight has been the first time the actor’s played a major role in a television series. The Marvel program had Hawke portraying a villain pitted against the superhero Moon Knight played by Oscar Isaac. Hawke joining the series was a decision that surprised some, especially since he’d made past comments about superhero films that upset a few. But Hawke admitted that he did the television show for strictly monetary reasons.
“I am an actor,” he said in a fairly recent interview with Insider. “That is how I pay my kids’ medical bills, that’s how I put a roof over our heads. And my job is not to change the world and make it the perfect place. My job is to do good work to the best of my ability. So we all decided, ‘I think you should do it.’ And I’m glad I did.”