Ethan Hawke joins the NYPD and leaves criminals star-struck - Features - Films - The Independent

Ethan Hawke joins the NYPD and leaves criminals star-struck

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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week