In Before Sunrise, ETHAN HAWKE spends a romantic night wandering around Vienna with Julie Delpy. Fiona Reid met him and discovered why he’s such a reluctant heart-throb.
it real life most actors look decidedly different from their screen pcrsonas. Away from the cameras and bright lights. they dress better or worse. they‘re smaller. taller. fatter. thinner. whatever. Not so Ethan Robert Sean Josh Patrick Randall Hawke who is every inch the ‘poseur slacker" from last year's take on the MTV generation. Reality Bites. He is unmistakable as his latest incarnation. Jesse. the adorably goofy but
impressively articulate young lead in king of
slackers Richard Linklater‘s latest film. Before Sunrise.
If you haven't heard of Hawke yet. you soon will. At the tender age of 24 he has starred in an impressive number of varied. if not always successful. films. In 1985. at thirteen. he co- starrcd with River Phoenix in the sci-ti adventure l’rp/tn'erv. He then tried acting school and hutcd it, before being rCSCtlcd by Peter \«Veil' to play the insecure and neglected schoolboy friend of Robert Scan Leonard in the award- winning Dead Poets .S'tn‘iety.
There followed a couple of best forgottens: Datl alongside Ted Danson and Mystery Date. Both nearly put him off acting for life. Then
10 The List 21 Apr-4 May 1995
Steven Gyllenhaal cast him in his film adaptation of Graham Swift‘s novel Water/and with Jeremy Irons. ‘He probably had more effect on me than any other actor I worked with] comments Hawke. ‘He made me feel like giving the acting thing another go.’ And so he did. with possibly his fittest performance yet in A Midnight Clear. followed by White Fang and in l992 Alive.
It wasn't until last year. after his grunge-babe appearance in Ben Stiller‘s Reality Bites playing opposite Winona Ryder. that Hawke gained fame on both sides of the Atlantic. The tabloids lapped up stories of his tete-(‘t-tete smooching with the then Mrs Lyle Lovett (nee Julia Roberts) in a New York night club. A conspicious if undesired start. This year he‘s out of Hello and into Premiere. being asked less about his dance partners than his first novel (which he doesn't like talking about) and his theatre company (which he does).
Hawke is clearly amused by the Gen X- slacker tag. In the flesh he is attentive and thoughtful. ‘lnteuse’ can be a ruse to get away with not having to say very much. but Hawke. thankfully. is a talker. You sit him down and he‘s off. About Hollywood: ‘You‘re speaking in generics. What‘s l-lollywood‘.’ It doesn‘t exist any more. The power‘s in Los Angelcs and the idea of l'lollywood moves over LA on cellular phones.‘ About the Oscars: ‘Who makes the decisions anyway? A lot of people over the age
‘Usually, with movies, everything’s always about money and what time it is, but this movie wasn’t like that. We wanted to make the script organic to what we felt and what we believed in what was true for Julie, what was true for me’
of ()0 in Beverley Hills.‘ About spending the night together (some questions beg to be asked): ‘I definitely know if you spent one night with me it‘d be very different than in Before .S'tmrise — I would talk relentlessly about lilms.‘
Before Sunrise is one of the most quirky and intuitive films you’re likely to see over the coming months: deceptively simple without dissolving into schmaltz. Jesse. his screen character. is in the doldrums after having travelled to Europe otin to be dumped by his girlfriend. After a few weeks of Eurorailing he makes his last trip back to Vienna to fly home and meets Celine on the train. If you‘ve watched Julie Delpy in action (Ki/ling Zoe, 'l'ltree ("o/ours: White, Voyager) you‘ll understand why he'd feel compelled to ask her to spend a night with him wandering around Vienna. He‘s all wide-eyed charm. she’s exquisite French cool. For the next two hours they talk. and talk. the cultural backdrop of the city a romantic stage on which they can share their thoughts on families. religion. life. sex. and love. Linklater has drawn out performances which are perfectly balanced and impressively natural.
‘Wc were all pretty much obsessed with teality.‘ agrees Hawke. ‘You go and see these movies and the people kiss and then they're in love. yet in real life it‘s so much more weird. It‘s like after you kiss somebody you actually have to keep talking to them. it doesn’t just dissolve.
‘l rehearsed more for this film than nearly all the movies I‘ve ever done combined. For about four weeks we sat in a room like this.’ he waves