Ethan Hawke was convinced that Robin Williams hated him on the set of Dead Poets Society, the actor has revealed.
Hawke had one of his earliest roles in 1989’s Dead Poets Society, in which Williams played an inspirational teacher at an all-boys school. But the pair were somewhat at odds off-camera, with Hawke confessing that he only realized later in life that he was the problem all along.
I thought Robin hated me,” Hawke said during a Q&A at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (via Variety). “He had a habit of making a ton of jokes on set. At 18, I found that incredibly irritating. He wouldn’t stop and I wouldn’t laugh at anything he did.”
Hawke continued: “There was this scene in the film when he made me spontaneously make up a poem in front of the class. He made this joke at the end of it, saying that he found me intimidating. I thought it was a joke.
“As I get older, I realize there is something intimidating about young people’s earnestness, their intensity.”Despite their slight tension, Williams later recommended Hawke to an agent friend of his, who went on to be Hawke’s first major representative in the industry. He recalled the agent reaching out to him. “He called, saying, ‘Robin Williams says you are going to do really well.’”
Since then, Hawke has gone on to do at least as well as Williams predicted, writing, directing and starring in multiple films, writing three novels, a graphic novel and plying his trade on the Broadway stage. He’s been nominated for multiple awards for his screenwriting and acting, including the Tony, Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, Independent Spirit Awards and more.
Hawke, who was collecting the President’s Award at the Czech film festival, will next be seen in the Marvel television series Moon Knight alongside Oscar Isaac.
Earlier this month, he revealed his unusual muse for his character in the show was none other than real-life cult leader David Koresh.