The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hawke’s right choice is not for Uma’s eyes

Frankfurt, Oct. 10 (Reuters): For Hollywood star Ethan Hawke, writing novels is more rewarding than making movies — even if he does have to put up with some blunt literary criticism from his wife Uma Thurman.

And, with a tinge of regret, he admits he may never fulfil his ambition to work with cult director Quentin Tarantino. That is very much his wife’s role.

Hawke, at the Frankfurt Book Fair to publicise his novel Ash Wednesday, won’t be giving up the day job just yet. He garnered an Oscar nomination this year for his role as a rookie cop in Training Day and his zest for acting has not dimmed.

But he does admit: “Writing is more satisfying to me at this moment in my life because I have had to work much harder for it.

“But writing feels so much scarier. Stepping off your little terrain, it is frightening for me but much more rewarding if some aspect of it goes well.”

Hawke, who rose to fame in the Eighties in Dead Poets Society and met his wife when they were filming Gattaca together, used to show Thurman his book in progress, but has changed his mind now.

“I started to but she is too damn critical and then I would get irritated with her and she would say ‘If you don’t want my criticisms then don’t show it to me’ and I said ‘All right I won’t.’”

Thurman is currently making Kill Bill with Tarantino, the director who says he has always looked on her as “my actress” ever since they made Pulp Fiction together.

And that torpedoes Hawke’s chances of ever working with Tarantino. “I think he is so obsessed with my wife that I don’t think I ever will. That is the one great director I am going to miss,” he says with a philosophical shrug.

Deeply distrustful of celebrity status and disillusioned by Hollywood, Hawke prefers life in New York with his wife and two young children.

He appears uncomfortable with the ego-driven world of Tinseltown. Becoming a father has given him a sense of proportion.

And the writing — this is his second book — has proved to be more than just an indulgence.

Ash Wednesday, the tale of a commitment-phobe whose life is turned around when his girlfriend becomes pregnant, has garnered good reviews and he is already thinking about number three.

“What I enjoy about writing is the privacy, how you can take your time, the peaceful nature of it as opposed to the carnival act that is making a movie,” he told reporters.

Hawke, renowned for his forthright liberal views on politics, admits that in the current climate in the US he feels uncomfortable about speaking out.

“I just think it is a dangerous moment. It is such a powerful country, such a strong country. We have to be careful we don’t become the largest terrorists in the world,” he said.

“Why does it make me so nervous to talk about politics right now' This whole idea of Zero Tolerance and ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’ and if you are not excited about going off and bombing lots of other people, you are somehow condoning the terrorist acts that happened in this country. “There is no left voice in the country right now,” he concluded.

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