It’s been a busy year for Ethan Hawke. The Reality Bites actor menaced Oscar Isaac in Marvel’s Moon Knight series, was a part of The Northman’s stacked cast, and starred in director Scott Derrickson’s latest horror flick The Black Phone. For his latest project, however, Hawke can be found behind the camera.
The Last Movie Stars is a six-part documentary exploring the relationship between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, one of classic Hollywood’s top power couples. As the director, Hawke compiled archival footage of the actors and conducted new interviews with some of the couple’s children, as well as Sally Field and Martin Scorsese, both of whom collaborated with the duo individually. Scorsese, who directed Newman’s Oscar-winning performance in The Color Of Money, is also an executive producer on the project.
The series completes a project that Newman had planned prior to his death in 2008. Screenwriter Stewart Stern, who penned the actor’s 1968 directorial debut Rachel, Rachel, had interviewed the couple and friends such as Robert Redford, Elia Kazan, Gore Vidal, and Sidney Lumet for Newman’s memoir, which was never published.
While the original audio recordings were destroyed, actors such as Kazan’s granddaughter Zoe, Oscar Isaac, Ewan McGregor, Vincent D’Onofrio, Billy Crudup, and Sam Rockwell are providing voiceovers of the interview transcriptions, with George Clooney as Newman and Laura Linney as Woodward. The new trailer for The Last Movie Stars reveals Hawke’s vision to turn the transcripts into “a play with voices.”
Newman and Woodward co-starred in a number of films, including Paris Blues, The Drowning Pool, From The Terrace, and The Long, Hot Summer. Besides their individual talents, they were acclaimed for bringing their real-life chemistry to the screen. The couple was married for 50 years.
Hawke previously directed the documentary Seymour: An Introduction in 2014. He’s also helmed features including Blaze and The Hottest State. Later this year, he’ll be seen in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
All six episodes of The Last Movie Stars launch on HBO Max on July 21.