If anyone can broker peace between Marvel fans and haters, it’s film diplomat and recent franchise addition Ethan Hawke. The actor has previously commented on the MCU vs. Cinema wars, taking a position one might describe as ruthlessly fair, and now he’s expanding upon his opinion to defend its critics.
“If people like [Martin] Scorsese and [Francis Ford] Coppola don’t come out to tell their truth about how there are more important things than making money, who’s going to?” Hawke says in a new interview with IndieWire. “It’s easy for them, but it needs to be somebody in the community saying, ‘Hey, everybody, this is not Fanny And Alexander.’”
Moreover, “If you keep reviewing these movies that are basically made for 14-year-olds like they’re Fanny And Alexander or Winter Light, then who the hell’s going to get to make Winter Light?” He says. “I appreciate the elder statesmen of the community reminding people not to set the bar too low. I know it makes some people think they’re stuck up, but they’re not stuck up.”
Having infiltrated superhero headquarters, Hawke can report: “That group of people is extremely actor-friendly. They might not be director-friendly, and that could be what Scorsese and Coppola are talking about. But they love actors.” He cites the undeniable synergy between Kevin Feige and Robert Downey Jr. as an example, saying, “When actors are excited by a part, audiences get excited about watching them. Feige understood the algorithm there, so they’re extremely respectful toward the process.”
We can thank his daughter Maya Hawke for prompting him to take a chance on the MCU. “Maya would say to me, ‘Why are you sitting on the outside and telling everyone their sandbox is bad? Why don’t you go into their sandbox, play with them, and show them what you have to offer?’” Though he didn’t saddle himself with a “long-term commitment,” he says, “ I just wanted to know what that sandbox was like. And it’s what young people are watching, so why are we going to sit there and tell them it’s not good?”
Another reasonable assessment from Hawke, though not one likely to result in a ceasefire—there’s certainly no way Scorsese will follow a similar route and give the MCU sandbox a chance before judging. Yet Hawke is surely also correct that capital-C Cinema needs its defenders as well, so perhaps the battle is destined to continue on until some sort of film equilibrium is achieved.