Following Robin Williams’ tragic suicide a few years ago, it seemed like everyone in Hollywood was falling over themselves to come out with stories about how great he was, so it’s surprising to hear that Ethan Hawke didn’t enjoy working with him back on 1989 movie ‘Dead Poet’s Society’.
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Hawke was over in the Czech Republic for the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where he was picking up a lifetime achievement award and taking part in a Q & A when he was asked about Williams. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:
I thought Robin hated me. He had a habit of making a ton of jokes on set. At 18, I found that incredibly irritating. He wouldn’t stop and I wouldn’t laugh at anything he did.
There was this scene in the film when he makes me spontaneously make up a poem in front of the class.
He made this joke at the end of it, saying that he found me intimidating. I thought it was a joke.
As I get older, I realize there is something intimidating about young people’s earnestness, their intensity.
It is intimidating – to be the person they think you are. Robin was that for me.
I think that’s kind of a backhanded compliment? Sounds to me like Williams was just having a fun time and Hawke was some moody asshole kid and that’s why they didn’t get on, but it doesn’t really sound like Hawke had a majorly bad time with him.
It’s kind of a weird story for Hawke to even come out with given the way that Williams ended his life a few years ago too. Not really sure what he hopes to achieve by sharing it, but there you go. I guess he’ll get a few headlines but it seems kind of pointless to rag on him for something that happened thirty years ago, especially now that he’s dead as well. Strange.
For more of the same, check out this incredible video tribute to Robin Williams. Prepare to get emotional.