Ethan Hawke’s Story About Shooting ‘Before Midnight’ Reveals the Movie’s ‘Mission’ — Watch

Ethan Hawke is a deep well of analysis and information and that’s none more than evident than when he’s talking about Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy. Though it’s been nearly a decade since the concluding film in the trilogy, “Before Midnight,” was released there’s still a deeper mission to the narrative for Hawke.

In an interview with Hawke about his work on Showtime’s “The Good Lord Bird,” Hawke took time to discuss a moment while filming “Before Midnight.” He recalls how a camera operator approached him, revealing how upset he was about Hawke’s character Jesse checking out a beautiful young woman.

According to Hawke, the camera operator believed “Jesse wouldn’t do that.” When Hawke asked him why the cameraman responded that Jesse’s love for Celine (Julie Delpy) was so strong that he wouldn’t, equating it to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack checking out a woman on the Titanic.

“This is the mission of ‘Before Midnight,” said Hawke. “Is to humanize romantic love. Our goal on that movie was could you make a romantic movie about a couple who’s been together for 10 years and not tell one lie? To not goose the truth at all?”

The “Before” series started in 1995 with “Before Sunrise,” following Hawke and Delpy’s characters who meet on a train to Europe and spend one night together under the presumption they’ll never see each other again. It was followed up by a sequel, “Before Sunset” in 2004. The characters would marry and see the concluding chapter, “Before Midnight” in 2013.

Hawke can currently be seen on Showtime, playing abolitionist raconteur John Brown in “The Good Lord Bird,” an adaptation of John McBride’s novel of the same name.

“I became deeply immersed in the tone of the show, and it really helped me as a performer,” Hawke said in the interview. “When you come to set, both humor and emotion are allowed to be at a very high level. It’s like walking right up to the line of farce — but if you go too far in the comic [direction], then the emotion goes out, and if you go too far in emotional [direction], it can become kind of preachy, or do-gooder-y, or feel like it has an agenda with the audience. There’s something beautiful about McBride’s writing where it feels like he’s both in love with John Brown and making fun of him constantly.”

You can watch the full video below.

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