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While promoting his unlikely duo of new films — romantic threequel Before Midnight and bleak thriller The Purge — Ethan Hawke made his way to Reddit on Wednesday for his first AMA (“ask me anything”), which quickly turned into ask him anything … about his favorite Hollywood bros.

Hawke was an open book during the rapid-fire virtual Q&A, revealing everything from the finer points of island ownership to whether he still loves the citrus bite of Tang (he does). He was clearly feeling the spirit of brotherhood, frequently leading the topic of conversation to some of his main men in the industry.

Here are some of his gushiest sound bites about the leading men he admires most:

On Nicolas Cage: “I’m kind of obsessed with Nic Cage. … He’s the only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art of acting. … If I could erase his bottom half bad movies, and only keep his top half movies, he would blow everyone else out of the water.”

On Denzel Washington: “To my mind, Denzel Washington is the greatest movie star of our time. There’s nothing he can’t do. And Training Day is for me like threading a needle; it’s very difficult to make a hit movie, and it’s very difficult to make a good movie, and very rarely can you accomplish both at the same time. And Denzel does it over and over again.”

On Leonardo DiCaprio: “After the success of Titanic, it would have been very easy for him to wind up another drug-addled casualty on the Hollywood Strip; but instead he’s dedicated himself to making great films.”

On Philip Seymour Hoffman: “When I first met Phil, he was often the reader when I would go in to audition for something — the kind of actor that wasn’t going to get the part, but he was good, so they hired him to read with all the other guys auditioning. He was intimidating then, and he’s intimidating now.”

On River Phoenix: “River was one of those people that had that strange magic glow around them; he could drive you crazy, or make you fall in love with him, sometimes in the same minute. I remember knowing he was special when in the first days of filming Explorers – we were staying in a motel outside of San Francisco, and I saw him practicing his character’s walk in the parking lot one of the mornings before shooting began. Uncommon behavior for a 13-year old.”

On Before Midnight director Richard Linklater: “If I could only make one more movie, and I could make it with anyone in the world, I would really want to make another movie with Richard Linklater. … I feel like he’s had a very rare and unique voice in movies. And as an actor, that’s always the highest bar, to be a part of something that could feasibly be original.”

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Before Midnight

  • Movie
  • R
  • 108 minutes
  • Richard Linklater