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Back to One

A podcast about acting -- just the work. by Peter Rinaldi

Back to One, Episode 212: Ethan Hawke on The Last Movie Stars

Ethan Hawke returns to the podcast (first time was episode 41) to talk about The Last Movie Stars, his epic six-part documentary that chronicles Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s iconic careers and decades-long partnership. Years ago, a friend of the couple interviewed Paul, Joanne, and many people close to them for a potential memoir, but Newman burned the tapes. Miraculously, the transcripts survive, so Hawke called on his acting friends to bring them to life. The result is both an intimate portrait of the lives and careers of this great duo and also a constant celebration of the endeavor of acting itself. Hawke talks about the apprehensions he had when Newman’s children approached him to do this series and how they were assuaged. He lets us in on what led to the decision to go meta and include the “behind the scenes” zoom conversations, which, in my opinion, really makes the series special. He talks about discovering his own biases while editing and how that awareness enriched the cut, shares why he relates to one aspect of how Newman approached his own fame, and why it felt sometimes like working on this was going to break his brain. Plus much more! The Last Movie Stars is on HBO Max on July 21st.

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