Monday, September 24, 2007

somewhere down the road...

I fulfilled my New York dream yesterday when I saw Ethan Hawke walking down the street, and then later into the same cafe I happened to be sitting in only moments later. For the past five years I have had this actor in the back of my mind, hoping, wishing one day I'd see him in the flesh. My first two years in New York I used to carry around a copy of his novel, The Hottest State so that in the chance I might run into him, I'd have something to start our conversation with. I did not have the book with me today. In fact, I was wearing my glasses, hair uncombed, old t-shirt with me instead. We locked eyes as he crossed over 9th avenue, and I couldn't help but follow him for a block. His pant leg was haphazardly tucked into his shoe, smoking a cigarette, just like anyone walking the streets of New York. I followed him for a block before he turned into an apartment building, turned around and walked to the cafe to get a drink. It was only a matter of minutes later when he walked into the same cafe to get a cup of coffee to go. I pretended I didn't see the lady he was with, no. I just peaked over my iced latte with a very large grin across my face. We didn't have the perfect conversation I have envisioned for all these years, no. We didn't speak a word. I managed not to take a stalker-esque photo or ask for his autograph. I think, as silly as this sounds, that we may meet again.

I wouldn't normally write such a crazy post like this (lies), but I had meant to write something about his film The Hottest State that I saw weeks and weeks ago at a preview screening. If you hadn't guessed, I'm quite a big fan of Mr. Hawke's work to date—from his acting to directing and yes, even his books. I've read them both, more than once, and while they may not be the most beautifully written prose my eyes have come across, the stories were engaging and genuine, so much so that I'm sure that they are based more than just lightly on his own experiences. And so I was excited to see the film, based on his novel, written and directed by him. I was sure it was going to be a heartfelt film, and I left feeling emotionally upset, it the best way, of course.

Like his novel, the film wasn't perfect. Most of the time I was squirming in my seat, dying for a cigarette, and maybe an intermission so I could breathe. It's a simple story of love that can't go right, a swift romance that doesn't let reality enter until its too late, and everything crashes down in front of their faces. The acting was perhaps too real at times, as I sat in the theater like a fly on the wall, wishing that I could get out of their as soon as possible because their fights and disagreements were too real for my liking. When I first walked out, I was uneasy. But as time has passed, I applauded Mr. Hawke for his effort. He didn't sugar coat what relationships are like. They are hard. Obviously, he knows this first hand. And although the critics panned his attempt, I found it thought provoking and intense. Intense is definitely the right word.

Ethan Hawke has always been a fan of music, of all genres. He handpicked the artists for the Hottest State, taking on singer/songwriter Jesse Harris on to help him out and appear in the film. I pseudo-stole a copy of the soundtrack after the film, and have found myself returning to it to remind myself of the film. It's a great collection of some indie greats and wonderfully scene-stealing scores.

Maybe I'll tell him all this, next time I see him.

  • Fesit - Somewhere Down The Road
  • Willie Nelson - Always Seem To Get Things Wrong

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