By Will Robinson
April 27, 2016 at 11:28 AM EDT

Run-of-the-mill sports movies are ones that often fall into familiar beats and don’t tread new ground. The Phenom star Ethan Hawke empathizes, and insists his won’t.

“I love sports movies, but so many of them have to deal with so many clichés,” he told EW at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. “There’s a quality to the writing — [Johnny Simmons’] character was so interesting to me. In a way, it was more reminiscent of Ordinary People than it was of [Miracle].” 

The movie centers on a rookie pitcher (Simmons) facing struggles in the majors. After a rough patch, he’s sent to the minors and works with an unconventional sports shrink (Paul Giamatti) to dig up deep-rooted issues, stemming from the relationship with his abusive father (Hawke).

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That character, Hawke added, was “one I had a clear hit on. I knew this guy really well, so I was excited to get the opportunity to play him.”

See the interview above, including Simmons sharing what Hawke taught him on set.

The Phenom steps up to the plate June 24.

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