Ethan Hawke, Liev Schreiber Get Shakespearean


Oct. 13 2008, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

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Ethan Hawke and Liev Schreiber indulge their passion for prose during a Young Shakespearean event held at The New Yorker Festival.

Get this – it’s Liev’s birthday, and he’s celebrating it here! Talk about devotion to the craft. He bubbles with enthusiasm when he talks about studying Shakespearean acting in England, and calls out Othello’s Iago as the character he relates to most.  

Uh-oh! According to Wikipedia, Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most sinister villains because he betrays while maintaining a reputation for honesty and dedication.

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“I wanted people to think that I was like the characters I played for years,” Liev tells me. “I thought it made me look smarter.”

Ethan sees more similarity in his current projects.

“Whatever I’m working on at the time is really the only honest answer,” he tells me. “I’ve been trying to look at this Scottish play, and managed to see that everything related to him. All your life, you’ve always been greedy for more. Nothing’s ever enough. Oftentimes the things you want end up being destructive to you. You don’t accept yourself the way you are.”

Ethan continues, “Now I’m supposed to be working on Winter’s Tale. All of a sudden, I start to see myself as this character. Yeah, I’m a rogue, I’m a wanderer, I don’t know what I’m doing. The beauty of this writing is you become more of yourself.”

Celeb baby alert! The famous fathers mention their kids. Ethan is dad to Clementine, 3 months, with wife Ryan, and Maya, 10, Levon, 6, with ex-wife Uma Thurman. Liev is dad to Alexander, 1, with wife Naomi Watts, who is expecting their second child this winter.

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Ethan says, “I’m curious of what language will mean to my kids” in regards to our text-happy society while Liev relates “I’m noticing now that I have children, certain kids have an ear for language and others don’t.”  Da-da!

Now that the actors enjoy notoriety, they’re looking forward to making their dream projects come true. If he were older, Liev’s son would surely blush when he mentions a project inspired by NYC nightclub The Box.

ethan hawke
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“There’s this new resurgence of burlesque and there’s a new literary porn thing going on that I think is very interesting,” Liev says. “The sexual stuff in measure-for-measure would be suited really beautifully to that. To me, it’s all pretty much about sex, desire and all the accompanying functions.”

He continues, “I’ve been trying to work out a measure-for-measure with a Berlin cabaret vibe to it. I know these really cool Romanian musicians and burlesque performers from Queens. They’re just fantastic performers, and I really dream of being able to put it together for the public.”

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Ethan reveals that he’s teamed up with director Richard Linklater to develop their career-ending remake of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

“He has this dream that we’re going to do a production of Lear on film to beat Peter Brook 's and Scofield’s production,” Ethan says. “We just need to start working on it now. He’s ten years older than me, so when he’s 85, it’ll be his last film and it’ll be my last film -- because I haven’t taken as good of care of myself as he has – at 75.”


“We read and watch film versions of it and talk about it,” Ethan says. “Whether we do it or not, I don’t know, but that’s something. In life, I feel I need a goal line.”


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