Ethan Hawke joins the NYPD and leaves criminals star-struck
Friday 11 June 2010
It's a beautiful character," Ethan Hawke enthuses, "who in the first scene commits a murder, and in the second goes to confession and then can't confess. He feels he's got 200 pounds on his shoulders, a giant gorilla on his back, which is that he's failed his wife."
The 39-year-old New Yorker is talking about his latest role in Brooklyn's Finest, a gritty cop drama which reunites Hawke with his director from Training Day, Antoine Fuqua, and co-stars Don Cheadle, Richard Gere and Wesley Snipes. He plays Sal, an under-paid, over-stretched NYPD cop.
To understand his character, Hawke hung out with real cops and went on "ride-arounds", in Patterson, New Jersey. He did the same thing in LA for Training Day, nearly a decade ago. Back then, he says, "None of the cops or criminals were really big on Before Sunset or Before Sunrise." He laughs: "I could be completely anonymous."
But cops really liked Training Day, he says, so this time round he wasn't "just some punk actor in the back seat." When he helped to bust suspects, "they couldn't believe they were getting arrested by the dude from Training Day. They stopped caring they were getting arrested and wanted to get their picture taken."
Gritty and complex, Brooklyn's Finest is the kind of meaty movie that excites Hawke. This is to be expected from someone who, as a child, aspired to become a writer like Jack London. Hawke's interest in acting developed at school, though it was not until his break-through in Dead Poets Society that he decided to pursue it seriously.
Hawke, who lives in Manhattan with his second wife, Ryan Shawhughes – the former nanny of his two children by his first wife, Uma Thurman – and their daughter Clementine, has not given up on writing. He already has two well-received novels under his belt – Ash Wednesday and The Hottest State (which he made into a film in 2006) – and is currently working on a third. His aim was to have three published by the time he was 40; 41 now seems likelier, he says.
Meanwhile, he is continuing to work on projects with his close friend Richard Linklater, who has directed him in several films. He's almost certain that there will be a sequel to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. "I know Rick and Julie [Delpy] and I will do something else together. We're always emailing each other with ideas."
'Brooklyn's Finest' opens today
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove