Dedicated, brooding, talented, eccentric… Ethan Hawke has been called many things during his 20+ years as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand leading men. In fact, the only thing that this rakishly handsome star has never been accused of being is boring, That’s because from Dead Poet’s Society to Gattaca, Training Day to Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, Hawke has continually chosen roles that not only defy typecasting, but also attest to his truly remarkable talent.
Of course, 2013 has been no exception, and though little more than halfway through, it has already seen Mr. Hawke fight for his life in the surprise spring hit, The Purge, produced by Saw mastermind Jason Blum, reteam with Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy for Before Midnight, the third installment of their intimate and beloved Before Sunrise series, and sign on to play Macbeth at Lincoln Center in NYC in the Fall.
And as if all of that weren’t enough, the occasional novelist also has a new movie scheduled to hit theaters on August 30th from director and action-horror producer extraordinaire, Courtney Solomon. Getaway isn’t a remake of the 1972 Steve McQueen– Ali McGraw classic The Getaway (or even the 1994 Alec Baldwin-Kim Basinger version). Instead, it’s a Bullitt, meets Die Hard meets Taken, fast-car-riding, bad guy-busting action film, extravaganza, produced by Solomon’s own successful After Dark Films in tandem with Warner Brothers, that finds Hawke in full-fledged testosterone mode, squaring off against Jon Voight in an effort to save his wife from a gang of nefarious criminals.
He also stars alongside former Disney Princess and current pop-singer, Selena Gomez, playing a Lisbeth Salander-esq computer hacker with a dark past of her own. This could be considered stunt casting, had the cherub-faced young actress not already shown some surprising maturity and true grit as the only redeemable part of Harmony Korine’s exploitative babes in bikini’s pic, Spring Breakers. And ironically, while Hawke and his young costar may seemingly inhabit two separate galaxies in the pop culture universe, they actually share a vital common link. Both successful child actors, they’ve each been faced with the eternal dilemma that greets any Hollywood kid seeking to grow up in the biz… how to graduate to more mature parts, or more importantly, amass an adult following, without alienating the young fans who’ve been there from the start.
For Mr. Hawke, who’s roles in film’s like Explorers and Disney’s White Fang endeared him to an entire generation of children more than two decades ago, it took smart choices in controversial pictures like Frank Marshalls’ Alive, not to mention capturing the Gen X zeitgeist with his one-two punch of Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites and Linklater’s Before Sunrise in 1994, to truly make the leap.
Since then however, he’s worked steadily, collaborating with up and coming auteurs (Gatacca’s Andrew Niccol) as well as film masters (Sidney Lumet’s Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead), making gritty crime dramas (Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day, for which he earned an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor), and continuing his work on the Before Sunrise series (earning a Best Original Screenplay Nomination for part two, 2004’s Before Sunset).
Though, with the success of The Purge earlier this year proving that fans love to see Ethan Hawke in action-mode, it seems that he and Ms. Gomez might have a surprise late summer hit on their hands. Featuring two stars who seem to resonate with their fans as only childhood friends can, as well as a proven action tastemaker in Courtney Solomon and his After Dark Films, Getaway is poised to do some serious damage at the box office. Yet regardless of the film’s ticket sales, hopefully Ms. Gomez can learn from her singular co-star, and build a career categorized by such thoughtful, fascinating, and eclectic choices.
GETAWAY speeds into theaters on Labor Day, Aug. 30, 2013
CLICK HERE to see the official trailer for GETAWAY.
CLICK HERE for AFTER DARK FILMS‘ Facebook page.