Ethan Hawke has been in Hollywood for nearly 40 years, but the Oscar nominee has never landed his dream role…in an animated feature.
The ‘Strange Way of Life’ actor revealed during a Interview magazine discussion with her former “Good Lord Bird” co-star Daveed Diggs who is envious of stars lending their voices to animated films. Diggs voices Sebastian the Crab in the live-action film “The Little Mermaid,” now in theaters.
“My whole acting life I’ve dreamed of getting an email that says, ‘You can audition for the voice in one of these,’” Hawke told Diggs. “I’ve never done (an animated film). No one ever came.”
Hawke added, “I look at all these movies and I’m like, ‘Oh, I could do that guy’s voice.'”
The ‘First Reformed’ star voiced a character in an episode of ‘Robot Chicken’ in 2007. Hawke has also narrated novels and performed in the Audible podcast series ‘Fishpriest’ in which he played an undercover narcotics agent turned hunter bounty in the 90s Bronx.
“As an artist, the power of the voice is an art form in its own right. And I love the sound design,” Hawke said Audible in May 2022. “When you first go to drama school, one of the first classes they take you to is voice and speech and what can be accomplished. The great theater directors I’ve worked with have chosen people based on their voices. It’s a weird thing when you don’t like the way something sounds, and it’s not on purpose.”
Hawke continued: “The idea of trying to re-explore what an audio work could be was dynamic and interesting to me. I think it’s a great way to use our imagination. One of the problems with movies is sometimes that they do so much of the work for you and rob you of the experience of really engaging your imagination. (Radio broadcasts) ask you for more than a movie. But for this it also has the possibility of giving you more, because you are asked to commit yourself, you have to participate. You have to feel that joint inhale, and then your brain has to say, “Oh yeah, I can imagine that,” and your brain imagines it, and you might make it better than a top-notch cinematographer would have. You will bring your memories, your feelings.
The ‘Training Day’ actor added, ‘Some of the worst tantrums I’ve ever had in my life are when they screw up the sound of movies I’ve made, when they change your voice or cut two takes together, or think that this harshness in your voice is a mistake and they cut it, or they do bad sound design so that the performance can’t be heard or felt. I don’t get it exactly, but I know when they screw up and it makes me so angry. People he loves to talk about how great Meryl Streep’s accent work is, but the reason it’s so great is that she gets to have an accent and use her own voice. Some people do accents and just do impersonations. And it could be a good imitation, but I don’t hear them anymore.So until that point, I’m a student of what the voice does.