“I wanted these interviews to feel like they were lost and rediscovered, like we were eavesdropping on friends. Paul and Joanne’s story doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s our generation looking back on the one before it. You can’t tell their story without telling the story of the people around us.”

-Ethan Hawke, episode 284 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Ethan Hawke has spent three decades telling stories. His latest project, The Last Movie Stars, honors two legends that inspired him to do so: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Today, he joins us to unpack the new docuseries (9:24), starting with his introduction to Paul Newman through Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (12:13). Then, Hawke reflects on his personal history: growing up with his mother on the east coast (16:43), his on-screen debut at fifteen in Explorers with River Phoenix (20:04), the enduring legacy of Robin Williams (25:57), and how Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy transformed his career (33:01).

On the back-half, we revisit a memorable scene from Before Midnight (42:28), how capturing Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue helped Hawke process loss (52:31), what he learned about longevity from director Paul Schrader (55:29) and how that definition evolved in making The Last Movie Stars (58:32). To close– we discuss the importance of family (1:02:12), Hawke’s hopes for his third act (1:04:24), and why he continues to honor The Actor’s Vow by Elia Kazan (1:07:38).

Original illustration by Krishna ShenoiReference photograph by François Berthier.

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