Q&A with ''Precinct 13'''s Ethan Hawke -- The ''Before Sunset'' actor talks about being typecast and why he chose to star in an action flick

January 24, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

That Ethan Hawke gets around: The art-house darling (Before Sunset) and stage trouper (he’s currently starring in Hurlyburly) also found time to topline this week’s gritty thriller Assault on Precinct 13 (a remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 classic). Hawke plays a trigger-happy cop opposite Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, and Maria Bello. So far, no sign of a poetry sequel.

When people think shoot-’em-up genre flick, Ethan Hawke probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind. What made you choose this role? I really needed it. Last year, I’d finished doing this big Shakespeare play [Henry IV] and I’d done Before Sunset, so I wanted to do something I could go to town on. The joy of doing a movie like this is it’s not self-important. You’re trying to make an entertaining movie. I haven’t done too many of those.

And you get to costar with The Matrix’s Laurence Fishburne. He’s the alpha male in that scenario — probably in any scenario. But he’s deeply kind. When Fishburne is taking the movie seriously, shut the hell up. And Leguizamo was this injection of positive energy and creativity.

You’ve pretty much covered the spectrum this year when it comes to acting roles. What’s next? I have no idea. I wonder if I’ll get offered more action movies. You know, you do Dead Poets Society and you’re a preppy guy. You do Reality Bites, you’re a grunge guy. The studio is putting so much money into a movie, they don’t want to think you can do it, they want to know you can do it.

So maybe it’s time for a Jerry Bruckheimer project? [Laughing] Let’s hope not.

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