Ethan Hawke: ‘It’s hard to sell movies without guns’


Ethan Hawke has insisted it’s much harder to sell films without guns because they perform better at the box office.

The Oscar-nominated actor has taken on a diverse range of roles over the course of his career, making his breakthrough performance in 1989 drama Dead Poets Society and going on to star in features such as Reality Bites, Before Sunrise, Training Day, Gattaca and Boyhood.

Ethan is currently promoting First Reformed, a movie about a former military chaplain who is struggling with the death of his son, and during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday (15May18), he discussed how weapons are so intrinsically tied to Hollywood narratives, and means a better payday for actors.

“I noticed recently, if you put in a column every movie I ever did where I carry a gun and every movie where I don’t, my salary, I really think it would be 92 per cent to eight per cent,” he mused. “I realised how much our identity is wrapped up about what we want and how we see people. How hard it is to sell a movie without a gun, no wonder we are in turmoil over the subject. But devil’s advocate: I’m pretty sure if you tried to take the swords out of Shakespeare, it would fall over pretty quickly.”

Ethan, who appeared in the contemporary adaptation of Hamlet in 2000, then went on to state that he has also noticed an interesting correlation between salary and the quality of a project.

“First of all, (when you) get paid more, the worse the lines are. Like, Shakespeare, no money but really good lines,” he laughed. “You do some kinda unmentionable movie that nobody sees and you don’t want to people Googling and looking it up, so you don’t mention the titles, but you also get paid a lot for them.”