Ethan Hawke has a new TV series, The Last Movie Stars, that covers a number of Hollywood legends. George Clooney portrays the legendary actor Paul Newman in it, and according to Hawke, he was top of the list because his career and success mirrors that of the Cool Hand Luke star.
“George was the first person I thought of who might really have insight into the things Paul’s talking about; what it’s like to sustain excellence at the absolute top,” he told ScreenRant. “There’s a handful: Clooney, Denzel [Washington], Tom Cruise. There’s a handful of people that have got there and stayed there.”
He isn’t wrong. No list of American icons of the silver screen is complete without Clooney, a backable actor who’s led a number of thriller movies and drama movies over the years, evening stepping into the DCEU to become a Batman actor (though that wasn’t exactly his finest chapter). The point is Clooney fits the profile, and makes a strong stand-in for Newman.
Hawke adds that this isn’t just based on talent, box office or awards either. Clooney has a similar mindset to Newman, staying involved in many pursuits besides filmmaking.
“He’s a political person; he’s a civic person. He likes to direct. He’s had a long, unbelievable career, and so I thought that he might relate to it,” Hawke states. “And, of course, he loved Paul Newman. He knew him, and they also share the ability to make it look easy. They make it look fun, and I appreciate that.”
In 2020, Clooney directed and starred in science fiction movie The Midnight Sky. Later this year, he’ll appear in rom-com Ticket to Paradise. You can see him in The Last Movie stars, available now on HBO Max.