Ethan Hawke on Linklater, time travel, and space prostitutes in ‘Predestination’

AUSTIN – Ethan Hawke walked into the Gibson Guitar Lounge at Maggie Mae's, one of 6th Street's biggest clubs, looking sharp and still flushed from how well Richard Linklater's new film “Boyhood” played for a packed house at the Paramount on Sunday morning.

His parents had joined him, and while he had seen the film at Sundance, it meant something different to him to see it in the city where it was filmed. As soon as he walked in, we started talking, and I've noticed that about him. He's one of those guys who always just seems like he's picking up a conversation with you after a brief interruption, and if you're willing to really dig into a subject with him, he'll absolutely give you thoughtful, interesting answers.

Even on those occasions where I haven't liked a film that he was in, the interviews with him over the years have been excellent, and I feel like this latest was one of the best overall interviews we've done so far. We covered a lot of ground, starting with my extreme irritation at so far having missed “Boyhood” at both Sundance and this festival. I am dying to see it. If there's any film this year that I want to see, it's that one. It's just been a brutal twist of timing so far that has kept me from having a chance.

On Saturday night, though, I did see his latest film, and I'm honestly still thinking about my review. I'm not sure exactly how to articulate the thoughts I have without giving too much of it away. Based on two different short stories by Robert Heinlein, “Predestination” is a time travel story, an action movie, a sad haunting love story, and a personal journey of a very particular type. It is successful at some things. It is less successful at other things. But it is not a film I would dismiss. With an edit, it might even been a very good movie.

One thing is for sure: it's a film that is worth conversation. It takes some very tricky ideas and expresses them in a way that is ultimately sort of beautiful. But with space prostitutes. Sort of. Seriously.

We talked about Michael and Peter Spierig, the twin bothers who wrote and directed the film, and about working with them again after their earlier collaboration “Daybreakers.” We touched on the “Midnight” movies a bit. It's just loose and comfortable, and I think we talk around the spoilers that might rob you as an audience any enjoyment when you're actually showing it.

“Predestination” is still looking for distribution, and I'm curious to see how a company handles once they pick it up. This is the pretty much the opposite of an easy sell.