Today is the 44th birthday of Ethan Hawke, that rare actor with the talent to branch off into writing, directing, and music. Before James Franco was spreading himself everywhere, Ethan Hawke was doing it 20 years earlier. Here are six things you might not know about Ethan Hawke.
1. He’s a successful novelist.
Ethan Hawke is a very good novelist. In 1996, the actor published The Hottest State, which follows a young singer-songwriter falling in love for the first time. Ten years later, Hawke wrote and directed the film adaptation of The Hottest State and cast Mark Webber in the lead role.
In 2002, Hawke published Ash Wednesday, a travelogue across the U.S. featuring an AWOL soldier and his pregnant girlfriend.
2. He directed one of the most popular music videos of the ’90s — in one take.
Ethan Hawke directed the music video for “Stay (I Missed You)” from Lisa Loeb. The pair were neighbors in a New York City apartment and Ethan Hawke urged Ben Stiller to use the catchy song from Lisa Loeb, who was an unsigned recording artist at the time, in Reality Bites. Hawke directed the music video in one continuous shot and was partly responsible for Lisa Loeb’s stardom. The pair are still very good friends today.
3. He has a Tony nomination to go with all his Oscar noms.
On top of his three Academy Award nominations (for his performance in Training Day, as well as co-writing Before Sunset and Before Midnight), Ethan Hawke is also a Tony Award-nominated actor. In 2007, he was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Mikhail Bakunin in Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia. Hawke didn’t win the award, but his co-star Billy Crudup did go home with the trophy.
4. His favorite co-star had four legs.
Despite working with everyone from Denzel Washington to one-time wife Uma Thruman, Hawke’s favorite co-star was the half-breed wolf named Jed from White Fang. Jed also appeared in John Carpenter’s The Thing and Disney’s The Journey of Natty Gann.
5. Richard Linklater is his guy.
To date, Hawke has appeared in eight films by Richard Linklater, by far the most of any director: Before Sunrise, The Newton Boys, Waking Life, Tape, Before Sunset, Fast Food Nation, Before Midnight, and Boyhood.
Hawke and Linklater have bonded over everything from being children of divorce to baseball to their admonishment of pure luck:
“There’s the great Branch Rickey line that Rick and I always talk about: ‘Luck is the residue of design,’ ” Mr. Hawke said, referring to the Hall of Fame baseball executive. “People always tell us, ‘Oh, you’re so lucky you got a shot where there was a home run.’ Yeah, but we’re often lucky. Rick works hard to create an environment that is conducive to luck. And Rick would have made a foul ball work. There’s a great scene in a foul ball, too, just a different tone.”
6. Hey, that’s Ethan’s music.
Ethan Hawke wrote and performed the song “I’m Nuthin'” for the fictional rock band Hey, That’s My Bike in Reality Bites. He also covered the Violent Femmes’ “Add It Up” as a bonus track for the film’s 10th Anniversary Edition soundtrack.