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Stranger Things is a family affair for the Hawke's. ET's Matt Cohen spoke to Ethan Hawke about his personal connection to the hit Netflix series and why he thinks his daughter, Maya Hawke's role of Robin Buckley, was meant for her.
"This is the biggest surprise that's happened to me in my life," Hawke gushed. "What it's like to have a grown-up child and watch them turn into a human being that I really admire -- Maya is extremely fun to be around, passionate and serious and funny and playful, and I feel connected to Stranger Things.
Hawke's connection goes deeper than just his daughter, he shares a birthday with the upside down!
"A lot of people don't know this, but when the first upside down world took place, it actually took place on November 6th, 1983 in Hawkins, which was my 13th birthday, which was the year I made Explorers and started acting, so I feel somehow like this was meant to be for Maya, like, it was aligned in the stars."
His love for the show is pretty strong too, with Hawke marveling at the "amazing talented young people" that Maya, who the 51-year-old actor shares with ex-wife, Uma Thurman, is surrounded by on the Stranger Things set.
"I loved the show," Hawke continued. "I'm so proud of her, 'cause I think she does a great job, but I'm most happy for her that she's surrounded by these other amazing, talented young people. That was my experience on Dead Poet's Society, getting to be surrounded by other young people who were in love with the same thing that I was in love with, getting to tell a story that affects your generation."
"Stranger Things is a defining creative force for this generation, and so I'm so proud of Maya and I'm so happy for her, and I know it's just the beginning," he added.
While his daughter has been busy fighting off Vecna in the upside down, Hawke has been working on his new HBO Max documentary, The Last Movie Stars, which details the life and love story of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Of the doc, Hawke said he felt "a huge responsibility" to do their story justice.
"I think over the years, people have kind of come to see Paul and Joanne as these idyllic celebrities, and I think they wanted an actor to direct a documentary to try to focus the story on their life as performers, and that's how they saw themselves -- as a lifetime of dedication to the performing arts, and so I could bring to it that angle," he said of directing the project. "But it's a huge story. I mean, their love affair is intense and long, and spans the last 50 years of the history of cinema, so it felt like a huge responsibility."
Based on transcripts from a series of destroyed of audio tapes that Newman and recorded into an effort to write a memoir about his life, Hawke enlisted several famous faces, including Sally Field, Martin Scorsese and more, to recreate and tell both Newman's story and that of his of ex-wife.
"He burned the audio tapes and fortunately, who had done them had transcribed them, so I was like, 'Ahh if I had only had these audio tapes I could make a documentary with all of this,' and then I thought, 'Wait a second Ethan, you're an actor, your friends are actors, what if we just recreated them?' And so, then the movie is this meditation on actors by actors," Hawke explained. "It's one generation reenacting the generation before them, and so it's kind of two communities -- each generation is its own wave so to speak."
Hear more about their life story when The Last Movie Stars hits HBO Max July 21.