This film is very much a complicated time paradox sci-fi thriller. So I understand why Ethan Hawke read the script again after he read the script for the first time. He also talks about his wish for time travel, fatherhood and the future!
Q: What were your first thoughts when you read this script?
I need to read it again. I’ve never had that feeling. First of all, I wasn’t even sure what part they were offering me. “Am I the bartender or am I the other guy? Or wait, is he a guy?” That aspect of it was really fun. Even though I didn’t get it, I knew I wanted to be involved with it because it was just so smart. It reminded me a little bit about that movie Brazil. You know when Brazil ends and you say, “What the hell just happened?” But I enjoyed it. Most movies are so obvious anyway, particularly for a person that has been making movies for a long time. I spend my life reading scripts so I get ahead of them all the time. “Oh, she dropped the pen. Oh, I get it. Forty pages from now and they’ll find the pen and that’s how they’ll know.” It gets so tedious. This, I had no idea what was happening. And yet the language was so good and the ideas were so interesting. I love Daybreakers too.
Q: If you could time travel, where would you go?
I think the first thing that I would do is want to go visit my kids when they are older. I would want to go to the future. I want to see how they did. That would be the thing that most interests me. The past isn’t that interesting to me.
Q: You say you want to go to the future to see your kids grow up. How does fatherhood change you?
Very hard to say anything worth reading about. Parenthood is part of life. It’s a little bit like friendship and love — all those big subjects. Fatherhood is definitely a part of who I am now. I have four kids so it’s just the context in which I see everything. The fun of working on Boyhood was that there was a place to put all that thinking. I help Lorelei’s baby so I get to do scenes with her. It’s an amazing miracle in a way. What’s wonderful about it is that it makes you constantly meditate on how wonderful it is to be alive. We had this joke on set that the ad line for the movie should be “Predestination, go **** yourself.” In a lot of the Buddhist theories, they say if we are all traveling through time and we have all been reincarnated as our mother and each other’s father, then we actually were our own mother at some point. We are all one living organism. When you look at parenthood from that context it’s kind of an illusion that we are ethos person’s parent. We are actually part of a culture. We are part of a time period we live in. We don’t know what’s happening with the planet. There is a larger thing at work. That’s what I love about science fiction. It lets you talk about those ideas without talking about religion. Where people have those knee jerk things where “I’m Christian so I don’t think about that,” or “I’m Muslim so I don’t think about that,” it lets you just think about the idea of it.
Q: In Boyhood, you get to see yourself 10 to 12 years ago and get to see yourself change. Over those years, how do you feel you have changed? Over the next 10 to 12 years, what do you want to become?
I wish I could know what I could learn 10 years from now already so I didn’t have to learn it. I’m always amazed at how much stays the same. The weird thing to me about Before Midnight, for example, and when you watch it in relationship to Before Sunrise, which was shot 18 years earlier, how much of the character just stays the same. I mean the face is falling apart and all that stuff but the essence of the person is the same. We learn things and I feel we get better at showing our true self or we get worse at it. We either get cleaner or more twisted. And I think the people that age the best are the people who kind of untwist themselves the best, and the people who suffer the most get more and more twisted. Youth always covers up a lot of problems because it’s attractive and fun, and then as you get older things get revealed.
Predestination opens in theaters and On Demand January 9th.