Ethan Hawke tapes ‘Gilead’ au­dio

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When she learned that Ethan Hawke was work­ing on a spe­cial au­dio edi­tion of her novel “Gilead,” Mar­i­lynne Robin­son’s re­sponse was to get a bet­ter idea of who he was.

“I can’t say I was fa­mil­iar with his voice,” Robin­son said of the four-time Os­car nom­i­nee whose films in­clude “Be­fore Sun­rise,” “Re­al­ity Bites” and “Boy­hood.” But when Robin­son watched Hawke star as a trou­bled priest in Paul Schrader’s “First Re­formed,” she felt con­fi­dent he could in­habit the life of an aging Iowa min­is­ter in the 1950s, one whom Robin­son de­scribes as “a man deep in con­ver­sa­tion with him­self.”

“He (Hawke) speaks in a sort of Amer­i­can way that is well within the range of what I un­der­stand my char­ac­ter to be speak­ing,” she said.

Win­ner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, “Gilead” is set in a ru­ral Iowa com­mu­nity in the 1950s. It’s nar­rated by the dy­ing Rev. John Ames, a Con­gre­ga­tion­al­ist pas­tor who re­flects on his fam­ily his­tory and the suf­fer­ing and tran­scen­dence he has known in this “poor per­ish­able world.”

Hawke has recorded an abridged nar­ra­tive of “Gilead” that was com­mis­sioned by Man­hat­tan’s 92nd Street Y and can be heard from Oct. 19 to 29 via www.92y.org/gilead.

Hawke re­mem­bered his first en­counter with Robin­son, when she read from “Gilead” at Shake­speare and Com­pany in Paris, as a “near Holy ex­pe­ri­ence.”

“Her hu­mil­ity as a per­son, and the depth of her writ­ing, was in­spir­ing — so I started read­ing,” he said.

Po­lice make ar­rest in ac­tor’s death:

At­lanta po­lice an­nounced Fri­day that they have made an

ar­rest in the shoot­ing death of ac­tor Thomas Jef­fer­son Byrd.

Homi­cide de­tec­tives on Wed­nes­day ob­tained a war­rant for the ar­rest of An­to­nio De­met­rice Rhynes, 30, on a felony mur­der charge based on ev­i­dence and tips from the pub­lic, and of­fi­cers ar­rested him early Fri­day, Of­fi­cer Steve Avery said.

Best known for his roles in Spike Lee films, Byrd was found dead about

1:45 a.m. on Oct. 3 near his home in At­lanta.

Byrd acted in films in­clud­ing “Clock­ers,” “Chi-Raq,” “Bam­boo­zled,” “He Got Game” and “Da Sweet Blood of Je­sus.” Also a stage ac­tor, Byrd was nom­i­nated in 2003 for a Tony award for his per­for­mance in the Broad­way re­vival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bot­tom.”

Black Lives Mat­ter co­founder lands pro­duc­tion deal:

Black Lives Mat­ter co-founder Pa­trisse Cul­lors has signed an

over­all pro­duc­tion deal with Warner Bros. Tele­vi­sion Group to cre­ate orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming that raises Black voices on stream­ing ser­vices and tra­di­tional TV chan­nels.

The mul­ti­year agree­ment, an­nounced Thurs­day, rep­re­sents Cul­lors’ first over­all pro­duc­tion deal with a Hol­ly­wood stu­dio.

Build­ing on her po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism, she plans to work with the stu­dio to de­velop scripted dra­mas and come­dies, do­cuseries and an­i­mated pro­gram­ming for chil­dren, young adults and fam­i­lies.

Oct. 17 birthdays: Ac­tor Mar­sha Hunt is 103. Singer Jim Seals is 79. Singer Gary Puck­ett is 78. Ac­tor Michael McK­ean is 73. Ac­tor Ge­orge Wendt is 72. Singer Alan Jack­son is 62. Singer Ziggy Mar­ley is 52. Ac­tor Wood Har­ris is 51. Singer Wy­clef Jean is 51. Rap­per Eminem is 48. Ac­tor Sharon Leal is 48. Ac­tor Felic­ity Jones is 37.

CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION

Ethan Hawke, pic­tured in Jan­uary, voices the Rev. John Ames in the novel “Gilead” for an au­dio­book airing on­line.

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