Red-Carpet Interview: Gene Siskel Film Center Honors Ethan Hawke

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CHICAGO – Ethan Hawke has made 2018 his year, and on June 7th the Gene Siskel Film Center of Chicago recognized his recent artistic achievements and his career by honoring him with their annual Renaissance Award. The event included a Red Carpet walk, and an on-stage talk with his friend, actor Vincent D’Onofrio.

Ethan Hawke got high praise for his performance in writer/director Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed,” which was released in May. He portrays the minister of a Christian church that is losing its congregation, except for a young married couple who seeks his counsel. Hawke is also behind the camera as director for “Blaze,” a biography of country singer Blaze Foley, set for release in July.

Ethan Hawke, Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award Recipient, June 7, 2018
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck photo for

Hawke was born in Texas, but eventually relocated to New Jersey as a child. He caught the acting bug in high school, and left his college drama studies at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh to make his major film debut in “Dead Poet’s Society” (1989). From that point, it has been a steady and admirable career path, including the films “Reality Bites” (1994), the Richard Linklater “Before” series (“Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight”), “Training Day” (2001), “Chelsea Walls” (2002, his director debut), “Boyhood” (2014) and “Maudie” (2016). He also recently participated in the documentary “The King” (in limited release on June 22nd), where he rode in Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce and spoke of the backlash of fame.

The Renaissance Award event included an on-stage interview with Hawke, moderated by actor Vincent D’Onofrio. Known mostly for his ten year run on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” D’Onofrio also made a stunning major film debut in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” (1987). His other films include “Mystic Pizza” (1988), “Men in Black” (1997), “Thumbsucker” (2005), “Brooklyn’s Finest” (2010, with Ethan Hawke) and “Jurassic World” (2015). He currently appears on Sy-Fy Channel’s “Ghost Wars.”

Moderator and Actor Vincent D’Onofrio Interviewed Ethan Hawke
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck photo for

Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema, as vital part of the school’s offerings, and as a continuous celebration of the cinema for the general public. The Film Center’s programming includes specialized film festivals (including the Black Harvest Festival in August), trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, as well as discussions with filmmakers and media artists. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic.

In the following Red-Carpet audio with Patrick McDonald of, Ethan Hawke observes the American Dream in his recent work and Vincent D’Onofrio passes along some advice given to him by Stanley Kubrick.

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is located at 164 North State Street. For more information about this vital and essential Chicago film culture institution, click here. For a previous Exclusive Photo of Ethan Hawke, by photographer Joe Arce of, click here. For a previous interview of Vincent D’Onofrio, by Patrick McDonald of, click here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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