NEW YORK — Ethan Hawke can add Young Adult author to his list of many talents.
The actor, director and marathon runner has a new book out called “Rules for a Knight,” which is filled with short chapters offering advice on subjects ranging from gratitude to pride.
This was the main topic of discussion at his Master Class Q&A this week with Redbook’s editor in chief Meredith Rollins. During the talk, which took place at Hearst Tower in New York, Hawke consistently referenced quotes and parables from a varied list of people including Bob Dylan, Tennessee Williams, his high school football coach and even himself.
“I honestly love parable,” Hawke said. “It’s the aspiring Jedi in me. I love when people speak in parables and you have to think, ‘What the hell does that mean?’ It gets your brain working in a nice way.”
Hawke said he’s collected these lessons since he was a young boy in order to combat stage fright, and while he would never call himself a life coach, he isn’t short on words. “I don’t claim to have any nuggets of wisdom about anything. Anything I’ve written in here is something I’ve read and I jerry-rigged it,” he said.
Here’s what he had to say about various topics:
On raising children of divorce: “I don’t get to spend nearly as much time with my kids as I would like. I’m a parent of divorce and I’m a child of it, so there is a line in my psyche about missing my own father and as a father missing my kids, which is why Richard Link later asked me to play that part in “Boyhood” and work on it with him. The truth is when you have every other weekend, there aren’t as many boring moments and so much of the best stuff of my life has been born when you have nothing to do.”
On being jealous of River Phoenix: “What a waste of time being jealous is. I remember being so jealous of River Phoenix and how amazing he was and then he passed away and I wasn’t any brighter. I was still the same person and then I realized I was a little less better of a person. He was actually making me better.”
On doing multiple things: I think it’s a Shaker expression that to be a master of one profession you need to apprentice three. In a lot of ways I’ve taken that on. Acting is even more interesting to me now today than it has ever been at any point. I started acting at the same time I had a paper route. I’m 45 and I did my first professional play at 12. What opens acting up for me is writing, directing, paying music with people, studying photography and being around interesting people.
On confidence: “I do think our confidence as individuals can be fragile. And confidence makes a big difference. When you are writing and there should be some part of you that thinks, ‘Oh man, people are going to love this.’ There’s a great thing that Bob Dylan said that when you’re writing a song, some part of you has to think the world is going to change when they hear this.”
On marriage: “I have no pearls of wisdom to offer about that. I’m generally a very difficult person to be married to.”
On aging: “It’s hard for actresses. There is such pressure with what they look like and their weight and how they are aging. There’s so much pressure to alter the way you look. We live in such a difficult time with that. My mother deals with it and she says, ‘You have no idea what it feels like to be rendered irrelevant because every man in the room is looking at someone 30 years younger than you.’”