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Posts Tagged ‘ethan hawke’

Ethan Hawke bears fangs in Daybreakers

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Ethan Hawke
Ethan Hawke attends a news conference at the Teatro Espanol in Madrid, in this April 16, 2009 file photo.
Photograph by: Paul Hanna, REUTERS

Hollywood is wild about vampires, and actor Ethan Hawke hopes to take a bite out of that craze with his starring role in the movie “Daybreakers,” which has what he calls a new take on the genre.

The movie, opening on Friday, hits theaters as Hollywood has been exploring a renewed love affair with immortal bloodsuckers.

The romance-drenched “Twilight” movies are generating blockbuster ticket sales at box offices, largely by appealing to school-age girls. Critical hit “True Blood,” which enters its third season this year on cable TV network HBO, aims at adults with its sexual content and social commentary.

But Hawke said there’s still room for “Daybreakers” at Hollywood’s crowded vampire dance. “We are the antidote to ‘Twilight’ and ‘True Blood’ and things like that. We are an old school horror movie,” Hawke told Reuters.

“My hope is we will end the inundation of the genre. There’s always the saturation point. Maybe (it’s popularity) ended two weeks ago, I actually don’t think so,” he said.

In “Daybreakers,” Hawke plays a vampire scientist who lives in a world where bloodsuckers are the dominant species.

Humans are scarce because they have been treated like lunch, but Hawke’s character is trying to find a blood substitute so vampires can feast, guilt free. Instead, he makes a discovery that looms even larger for the vampire race.

Hawke said the science fiction nature of “Daybreakers” and the allegory to natural resources being bled dry sets the film apart from teen-oriented tales like “Twilight.” He called it “the first post-adolescent” vampire movie in recent years.

Hawke read the script back before 2008’s “Twilight,” which made $385 million at worldwide box offices, and November sequel “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with its $683 million take.

“I read it and I was like, ‘Guys, time to bring back the vampire.’ Little did I know that we’d be riding a long wave of people” with the same idea, he said.

Hawke appears to take it all in stride, though, because at this point, the 39 year-old actor is a veteran of entertainment industries. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in 2001’s “Training Day,” and he has written two novels. But don’t expect a third one from him anytime soon.

“Now I have three kids, and adult life has been bearing down on me a little bit,” Hawke said. “I have this fantasy that I’m going to write a ton of books when they go to college.”

Hawke had one of his most iconic roles in 1994 film “Reality Bites,” in which he played a bright slacker who shared a grunge ethos with the bands like Nirvana, and went from one low-end job to another.

“How much of that is me? I’ve had a funny relationship to my own success my whole life where I kind of chased it and then chased it away,” he said.

But that does not mean Hawke is slacking off with his own career these days. His latest project is directing a New York stage production of the Sam Shepard play “A Lie of the Mind.”

Unlike when he was younger, Hawke said he now realizes he needs to have financial success, otherwise he can’t get his passion projects — like an eventual follow-up to his romance movie “Before Sunset” — off the ground.

“Life is full of all these weird compromises, and you have to live in reality about it,” he said. “You can’t have children and not pick your kids up and go to school.”

© Copyright (c) Reuters

Movie Reviews: Daybreakers

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Daybreakers DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Like all vampire movies, Daybreakers sucks, but in a good way, thanks to solid performances from Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, who understand the key to the genre is selling the premise and the lines without stooping to cliche. In this round of toothy fun, the whole world has been transformed into vampires, leaving the bloodsuckers vulnerable to existential crisis and ennui.

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe

Rating: Three stars out of five

If the vampire is today’s most popular metaphor for social disintegration and moral disease, we might as well be latent Victorians sitting atop a volcano of explosive change.

After all, the vampire is a brilliant symbol of our collective dark side. The metamorphosing monster who looks human, except for a pale complexion and an inability to walk in the truth-revealing daylight sun, this blood-sucking, life-force drinking creation is the incarnation of our sinful, fleshy desires — as well as the consequences of giving way to temptation.

No wonder we love the toothy ones so much: They get away with all the things we wish we could do, but social law forbids.

That said, Daybreakers offers us a world where even the vampires suffer from ennui — and not because they’re in Forks, Washington. The vampires in this feature from Aussie siblings Peter and Michael Spierig are bored because they’re not special anymore.

In this version of a not-too-distant future, vampires have taken over the world through viral contagion. The movie handles the exposition through newspaper headlines seen over the opening credits as we learn of an outbreak, and subsequent epidemic, that turned the entire human race into bloodsuckers.

After nearly a decade of immortality and sanguineous drinking habits, the vampire beings have displaced or killed all the regular humans. The only Homo sapiens left are comatose blood-donors, being farmed in gigantic racks run by the evil pharmaceutical corporation that gives the world its life-giving blood supply.

But without a substitute, the blood stores are running out. The humans are dying, and without fresh blood to feed the world, the vampires are on the verge of starving to death and becoming a sub-species of long-nailed, sunken headed monsters that easily frighten off the well-fed vampires — who see the starving ones as something lesser than themselves.

It’s all great social metaphor for wealth, power and the notion of free will, and to the Spierig brothers’ credit, they find enough great imagery to bring the underlying commentary home without being pushy or pompous.

Understanding the real horrors are the ones we perpetrate on each other, the movie brings us into the begrudging vampire existence of Edward (apparently, the favoured name among vampires). Edward (Ethan Hawke) is a hematologist who works for the evil drug company, seeking the best possible fake blood formula.

He’s close. But so far, no cigar — just a few patients who exploded after the transfusion.

Edward never wanted to be a vampire in the first place and he’s steadfastly refused to drink human blood, but when the shortage gets critical, and he’s rounded by a group of rogue human survivors, he’s forced to take a long hard look in the mirror — where he spots his growing earlobes, the first sign of vampire dementia.

Edward wants to help the humans, but if he’s to succeed, he’s going to have to solve the mystery of Elvis: No. Not the pelvis. He’ll be forced to solve the mystery of Elvis (Willem Dafoe), a vampire who regained his humanity after crashing his muscle car into a pole, flying through the air on fire, and landing in a pond.

The science clearly needs a little sophistication, but the ideas in Daybreakers hold up metaphysically, which gives this otherwise goofy, toothless movie some edge.

Because the directors aren’t afraid of mingling some over-the-top genre elements with a slick shooting style, the movie commands your attention through mere production values.

The rest of the enjoyment comes in watching solid thespians such as Dafoe and Hawke, not to mention a scenery-chewing Sam Neill, spread their skin-covered wings and don the icy contact lenses.

Good actors are fun to watch any day of the week, but a good actor trying to pull off lines such as “life’s a bitch and then you don’t die” can be especially fun.

Hardly a reinvention of the bloody genre, Daybreakers understands exactly what it’s trying to be, and it realizes the vision of a well-crafted and good-looking vampire movie — without teen angst.

In other words, like all vampire movies, it sucks — but in a good way.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

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