Today is Emma Stone’s birthday, turning 25, as well as Ethan Hawke’s, turning 43. They don’t really have anything else in common besides this shared birthdate, but I wanted to celebrate both of them – one with a bright and burgeoning career, the other with a solid oeuvre behind him and more sure to come.
Stone first caught everyone’s attention with Superbad in 2007, as Jonah Hill’s love interest. Since then, she has anchored her own John Hughes-esque comedy (Easy A), held her own against an all-star cast in The Help and joined a blockbuster superhero franchise (The Amazing Spider-Man), with the sequel coming out in May. She has captured the hearts of many filmgoers, including mine, with her humour and relatability, showing up in some of the best recent romantic comedies like Crazy, Stupid, Love and Friends with Benefits.
In addition to all that, she has some extremely intriguing roles coming up. She’ll appear as a lead in Woody Allen’s next film, Magic in the Moonlight, alongside Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden and Hamish Linklater. More interesting to me is Alejandro González Iñárritu’s comedy, Birdman, about an actor known for playing a superhero (played by Michael Keaton) trying to put on a Broadway play and commit to self-recovery. It also stars Stone as Keaton’s daughter, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Ryan, with cinematography by the great Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life, Gravity).
Anyway, Hawke is an actor with great range, but one that seems to work best with certain directors. One of these would surely be Richard Linklater, with Hawke appearing in the Before trilogy (Sunrise, Sunset, and this year’s Midnight). These three films are probably his greatest accomplishment as an actor, while also assisting with the last two screenplays. Hawke will often find himself in work far below his abilities (Brooklyn’s Finest, Daybreakers, this year’s Getaway and The Purge), but he always brings his A-game regardless of the material. Other than the Before films, some of his best stuff can be found in Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca. Yes, Gattaca!