Maya Hawke recently revealed the moment she realized that her father, Ethan Hawke, was a talented actor. So why does her dad consider the moment a “parenting fail”?
While speaking with the Los Angeles Times on Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival, Maya Hawke recalled being both impressed and “deeply disturbed” by her father’s performance in an off-Broadway production of Anton Chekhov’s “Ivanov.”
The Classic Stage Company’s adaptation of the tragic play, starring Ethan Hawke in the title role, opened in New York City in November 2012 when Maya Hawke was 14. The daughter of Oscar nominees Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman has since followed in her parents’ footsteps as an actor whose credits include “Asteroid City,” “Do Revenge” and “Stranger Things.”
“I mostly engaged with my dad’s theatrical career” growing up, Maya Hawke told The Times. “I saw him at CSC doing ‘Ivanov,’ and it was so sad and devastating. … Spoilers everyone: Ivanov kills himself at the end, and I was very deeply disturbed by that happening.”
“It was a parenting fail,” Ethan Hawke admitted, adding that “you’re not supposed to bring your young daughter to see you in a play where you take your own life.”
In an effort to comfort her father, Maya Hawke insisted that she “wasn’t that young” and that “it was fine” for him to invite her to the play. But she did recall the experience having a profound effect on her.
“At the end of it, when I saw that he was still alive, I was like, ‘You are a very talented man,’” she said.
“You live and you learn,” Ethan Hawke added.
The father-daughter duo attended TIFF together to promote their new film, “Wildcat,” which is among the independent productions that have secured interim agreements with SAG-AFTRA to move forward during the Hollywood actors’ strike. Ethan Hawke directed and co-wrote the biopic, which stars Maya Hawke as novelist, short-story author and essayist Flannery O’Connor.
Asked by The Times why she chose to work with her father on “Wildcat,” Maya Hawke said that the period piece shares key themes — such as “the artist life,” love and “relationships to one’s own personal actualization and … creativity” — with several of Ethan Hawke’s previous projects.
“There are some consistent themes that I thought applied excellently to the subject matter of this film,” Maya Hawke said. “There was actually no one better equipped.”
“I got the job,” Ethan Hawke quipped.
The pair also discussed their approaches to writing (Maya Hawke is a singer-songwriter as well as an actor) and joked about “rituals” they do in order to switch off the family dynamic and focus on the work.
“This morning, actually — before we came to do press — we did a long … guided meditation, where we practiced the idea that we are all one giant communal family with the world and that our familial bond is no closer than the bond of any two strangers on the street because we’re all one,” Maya Hawke joked.
“And then we engaged in a four-hour ritual,” Ethan Hawke added. “And that’s why we’re using this opportunity to invite everyone over to Thanksgiving dinner this year … at Yankee Stadium.”
Save us a seat! (Though we’d prefer Dodger Stadium.)