Mary Rose Cook's notebook

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Ethan Hawke talking about Boyhood

Ethan Hawke is startlingly interesting in both of his segments in this piece about Boyhood.

[2m 10s] The idea is to do a portrait of a family through the eyes of their son. There is generally an artifice to any film about growing up. Even a great film like The 400 Blows has to pick one tiny moment and jerry-rig all the life events into that moment. What Rick decided to do was to study the period when we’re all formed around first grade when you start to have memories and start to have an identity, an ego. And how that ego is created by you, your family, your culture and the period you live in. It’s kind of like getting to make Ordinary People over twelve years.

[5m 50s] The really dynamic thing for me about my character is that he is perceived entirely through the eyes of a child. So you don’t really know what he’s like except for the way his son perceives him. Kids are funny like that. They don’t really know what their parents do. ‘What does your Dad do?’ 'Oh, he works in medicine.’ They don’t really know much about it. They don’t really think that much about you. They take you for granted. So I had to create a character that the audience is thinking one thing… It starts and he’s kind of a ne'er do well because he’s on the outside, like a lot of men are in divorce. You kind of get spun away because there’s an idea that kids should be with the mother. So you kind of operate as a satellite moon. And slowly he starts to show up more and more and figure out how to take part in their lives.