Ethan Hawke says he rel­ishes chance to play gruff char­ac­ter

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - MOVIES - Richard Crouse For Metro Canada

In Maudie, a biopic of Nova Sco­tia folk artist Maud Lewis, Ethan Hawke plays Everett, the artist’s brusque hus­band. “You walk funny,” he says when he first meets her. “You a crip­ple? You sick?”

In other words, he’s not ex­actly a charmer.

“It’s al­ways fun and such and such a great ex­pe­ri­ence to get to play a char­ac­ter that au­di­ences love,” says Hawke. “It feels re­ally good. But of­ten to tell a re­ally in­ter­est­ing story you have to play peo­ple who are badly be­haved. I feel that as gruff and as un­ac­cept­able as a lot of Everett’s be­hav­iour is, it is not un­com­mon at all of men of that time pe­riod. I re­mem­ber my grand­mother al­ways ac­cus­ing my grand­fa­ther of not want­ing a wife but a maid. He’s some­body that in the course of that re­la­tion­ship learns how to love.”

As ro­mance blos­soms be­tween them, Maud’s art — hand­made post­cards, paint­ings — slowly gains fans, in­clud­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon who pur­chased a land­scape by mail. As Maud’s in­creas­ing recog­ni­tion threat­ens Everett’s sim­ple way of life their union be­comes strained.

“I found that story re­ally sur­pris­ing. The sub­tle de­tails of their in­ter­nal power shifts, I thought, were re­ally true to life. All long-term re­la­tion­ships have strange power dy­nam­ics and the be­hav­iour within the cou­ple is al­ways shift­ing about who’s in charge and in charge of what, and what that does to their love and how that changes.”

The cou­ple is, as Maud says, “like a pair of odd socks.”

“I thought it was a beau­ti­ful jour­ney to go from some­one who was abu­sive to some­body who knew how to love and care for an­other per­son. That’s an in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter to get to play.”

The script caught his eye not only be­cause of the chance to play a com­pli­cated char­ac­ter but also be­cause of his affin­ity for Nova Sco­tia.

“I bought a place in Nova Sco­tia prob­a­bly in the late nineties. I’ve been go­ing up there once or twice a year ev­ery since then. I love it up there.

“Through a friend of a friend they thought I might like the script just be­cause I like Nova Sco­tia so much. They were right. Of course then they tricked me and the shoot­ing ended up be­ing in New­found­land. I thought I could shoot this movie and live in my house, but I couldn’t.”

Maudie is a movie about small mo­ments; an ex­changed look, a ca­ress. Like its re­al­life in­spi­ra­tions, the film is un­pre­ten­tious — oc­ca­sion­ally gruff but al­ways hon­est and truth­ful.

“Most of us aren’t in gi­ant es­pi­onage bat­tles or he­li­copter chases. Most of us don’t need a su­per­hero,” Hawke says. “For most of us the real events of our lives cor­re­spond around love. The los­ing of it, the gain­ing of it. How we feel about any given time pe­riod of our life has to do with that and I think it is very dif­fi­cult to make love sto­ries for adults be­cause they’re very com­pli­cated.

“Arthur Miller has a great quote about how ev­ery­body is in­ter­ested in sto­ries about fall­ing in love and get­ting mar­ried, or sto­ries that start with a break up but end in some­body find­ing res­o­lu­tion. But what is very dif­fi­cult to do is show the ac­tual re­la­tion­ship. I love this story for the messi­ness of the real life in it.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

A ro­mance blos­soms be­tween everett, played by ethan Hawke, and Maud Lewis, played by Sally Hawkins, as her art slowly gains fans in Maudie. the biopic of the nova Sco­tia artist opens this week­end.

A re­cently dis­cov­ered paint­ing by Maud Lewis went on dis­play Tues­day, as the Art Gallery of Nova Sco­tia high­lights its col­lec­tion of the famed folk artist’s works to co­in­cide with a new fea­ture film on her life.

The work en­ti­tled “Por­trait of Ed­die Barnes and Ed Mur­phy, Lob­ster Fish­er­men, Bay View, N.S.,” was re­cently found by vol­un­teers sort­ing through do­na­tions to the Men­non­ite Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Thrift Cen­tre in New Ham­burg, Ont.

The paint­ing will be on dis­play Tues­day through Sun­day along with a small dis­play of pho­to­graphs from the film and cos­tumes worn by ac­tors Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.

The paint­ing will also be on view from April 21 to May 19 at the Homer Wat­son House and Gallery in Kitch­ener.

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