Ethan Hawke reveals the one actor he thought could bring the words of Paul Newman to life in The Last Movie Stars, a new docuseries coming to HBO Max. Hawke directs all six episodes of the miniseries, which release on the platform today, July 21. The series is also executive produced by legendary director Martin Scorsese.
The Last Movie Stars chronicles the lives of Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward, two of the last stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and their 50-year marriage. The docuseries dramatizes interview transcripts made by the pair before Newman’s death for an unfinished memoir, creating a narrative around the couple’s evolving acting careers and how they shaped performance in ways that are still felt today. Ozark star Laura Linney will appear in The Last Movie Stars reading Woodward’s part, with Woodward appearing as herself at the age of 92.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Hawke says the first actor he thought of to read Newman’s part was Oscar-winner George Clooney. Hawke’s reasoning is that both Newman and Clooney know what it’s like to be as successful as they are for as long as they’ve been. He also says Newman and Clooney share a natural charisma they bring to their performances, through which acting seems like the easiest thing in the world. Read Hawke’s quote below:
George was the first person I thought of who might really have insight into the things Paul’s talking about; what it’s like to sustain excellence at the absolute top. There’s a handful: Clooney, Denzel [Washington], Tom Cruise. There’s a handful of people that have got there and stayed there. And George seems like-minded. He’s a political person; he’s a civic person. He likes to direct. He’s had a long, unbelievable career, and so I thought that he might relate to it. And, of course, he loved Paul Newman. He knew him, and they also share the ability to make it look easy. They make it look fun, and I appreciate that.
Hawke also mentions that Clooney was a friend of Newman’s, which would allow him to offer insight into the actor’s mindset in his later years as he reflected on his life. Clooney and Newman almost co-starred in The Notebook before Ryan Gosling and James Garner took the roles. Hawke also mentions considering Tom Cruise to play the part, with Cruise having co-starred with Newman in Scorsese’s The Color of Money, which earned Newman an Academy Award.
Newman and Woodward helped shape film performance in ways that were earth-shattering, all while maintaining a rare successful Hollywood love story. The new interview tapes showcased in The Last Movie Stars will bring a new perspective to how they saw the industry grow with them, and how they influenced one another in their long lives together. In the end, The Last Movie Stars likely won’t be able to fully grasp the behemoth influence Newman and Woodward had over Hollywood, but with Hawke’s passion and committed performances from Clooney and Linney, it’ll be a real treat for movie fans everywhere when it releases on HBO Max.
PROC. BY MOVIES