Ethan Hawke Shares His Thoughts On Sci-Fi On Reddit AMA

Ethan Hawke has become a Reddit favorite for being awesome enough to answer most of the fan questions in detail. Unlike some of the past Reddit AMAs by other A-listers (Rampart; “sleeping” Morgan Freeman) which failed to connect with their internet fans, Hawke has been able to captivate his online demographic by being as sincere as possible with all his AMA answers. Last Saturday, the Purge star returned to the popular Q and A thread to discuss his life, career and his upcoming projects with his amazing Redditor fans.

Hawke joined Reddit to promote his sci-fi film, Predestination, which details the life of a time-traveling agent as he pursues one of his greatest challenges yet — capturing a terrorist that has evaded him all throughout his career.

Here are some of the most intriguing questions asked during the AMA:

Redditor ningrim asked, “If someone had never seen any of your work, what would you want them to watch first?”

Ethan Hawke answered:

It’s strange, but… there’s something about performing on the stage, live, that is always a little different, and a little bit more special to me, because it’s a shared experience. If someone comes up to me and says they loved TRAINING DAY or GATTACA or DEAD POET’S SOCIETY, it’s cool and meaningful… but when someone approaches me and saw me in, let’s say, HENRY IV in 2003… it’s different because it means we were actually once in the room together.

And I think “What night did you see it?” And they’d say “New Year’s Eve” and I’d say “I remember that show!”

So there’s something really tangible about the actor / audience relationship that I’ve always struggled with with movies.

Redditor shivan21 asked, “You seem to pick good sci-fis from time to time, what’s your relationship to this genre? Do you have any favorite films?”

Hawke answered:

Yes, thanks for asking that question.

For me, one of the first things that turned me onto reading was science fiction.

From Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, H.G.Wells – what people call the “Golden Era” of sci-fi – it’s one of the few places you can really talk about philosophy and politics without being either pretentious or a blowhard.

And PREDESTINATION, GATTACA, and also THE PURGE are… 3 films I’m extremely proud of. Because they use science fiction to approach ideas that are difficult to talk about without getting mired down in obvious politics (where, let’s face it, all of us have our knee-jerk reaction – I have the leftwing point of view, I have the rightwing point of view, so discussion breaks down).

For example, when I read THE PURGE, on one level, it’s just a scary movie, but on another movie, it manages to talk about class warfare in a way that is extremely relevant. Seeing the image of a young black man running through an extremely affluent suburban neighborhood with everyones’ doors closed to him isn’t really as science fiction as it might have announced itself to be.

And for that matter, look at the moral conundrums that GATTACA asked – which are right here. To what extent do we really want to homogenize ourselves, when it’s our uniqueness that makes us special – when so many of us, when given the option, would eliminate that? For example – if they can discover dyslexia in the embryo, and get rid of it, many people would choose to do that. And we’d lose Albert Einstein, John Lennon, and my daughter.

And with PREDESTINATION, it examines the consequences of our choices. It’s using the metaphor of time travel to explore the consequences of our choices. Because, let’s face it, look no further than BOYHOOD to realize that we all are time-traveling, all the time.

You know, one of my favorite sci-fi movies of recent years was DISTRICT 9. That was pretty fantastic. As was DISTRICT B-13, one of my favorite recent movies.

What’s interesting about the drone project with Andrew Niccol is that it feels like a futuristic movie when you watch it, but it’s all right here and right now! Technology is exploding so fast.

Read the rest of the Reddit AMA here.

[Image from Sony Pictures]

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