Video: Ethan Hawke On Paul Newman’s Trailblazing Westerns


Ethan Hawke came to visit AFS Cinema, and not just for a screening or two: the ever-busy actor/director/producer/writer presented five films over the course of a weekend (March 24–26) to sold-out crowds. The occasion was a programming series called Paul Newman’s West, which he co-curated with AFS Head of Film Holly Herrick with participation from Lead Film Programmer Lars Nilsen.

What made the weekend particularly remarkable was that Ethan Hawke took to the AFS stage for two extended post-film discussions after screenings of Hombre and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, where he was joined by filmmaker Adam Piron (Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and Mohawk), Director of the Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program. The two discussed the trailblazing dimensions of Newman’s performances: the subversion of Western archetypes, the thoughtfulness toward Indigenous representation, and the unexpected way Newman rebelled against his own celebrity. 

Click here to see a playlist of these fascinating dialogues in full on AFS’s Youtube channel.

The connection between Ethan Hawke and Paul Newman will be clear to those who’ve watched Hawke’s HBO docuseries The Last Movie Stars, which explores the lives and legacies of Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward. Hawke’s admiration for Paul Newman, both as an actor and as a person, was on full display as he introduced the films at AFS. Also on display was the extensive amount of research Hawke did for his HBO series. In his introduction for The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Hawke brought a transcript of a wild John Huston interview about making the film, which he read to the audience in his best impression of the late director’s distinct grumble.

In a weekend full of great films, thought-provoking discussions, and enthusiastic crowds, there was one special moment we’d like to share: in his final time on the AFS stage, Ethan Hawke expressed his gratitude for our community of film lovers:

“I can’t help but wonder whether you know what a wonderful community you live in. I’m so jealous when I come down here and I see all these people who care about art and movies as an art form. The community itself, it’s so exciting to be a part of, and so I’m so grateful to you guys for making this happen.”

Click here to view more photos from the screenings of Hombre and Hud on Saturday, March 25.

Films Included in Paul Newman’s West

  • The Left Handed Gun (Arthur Penn)
  • Hombre (Martin Ritt)
  • Hud (Martin Ritt)
  • The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (John Huston)
  • Buffalo Bill and the Indians (Robert Altman)