Though he auditioned for a role in the 1986 hit coming of age drama Stand By Me, Ethan Hawke discovered he missed out on the role in a humorous way.
Actor Ethan Hawke has admitted that he learned of not being cast in Stand By Me in a somewhat humorous way. The 1986 film was based on a novella by acclaimed horror author Stephen King and included a who’s who of then-up-and-coming young talent.
Though the film is held in very high regard by many and considered a modern classic, its success at the box office in 1986 was relatively modest compared to today’s hit films. Telling the story of four young boys who decide to make a pilgrimage to the final resting place of a missing local boy’s body, Stand By Me is a coming of age film like few others. As previously mentioned, the film’s primary cast included some popular names for its time, with River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell portraying the four friends. At the time, Ethan Hawke, another young actor was also working his way up the Hollywood ladder, had previously starred alongside Phoenix in the box office bomb, Explorers. Hawke also auditioned for Stand By Me, but unfortunately for him, things didn’t quite pan out.
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Today Hawke is 50 years old, with a distinguished career under his belt and a lifetime’s worth of stories about the ups and downs of going from child actor to accomplished star. And while not every audition always went his way, Hawke is able to look back on his past with a wiser and sometimes light-hearted approach. In a new interview with The Guardian, Hawke explained that he’d lost a role in Stand By Me to Phoenix and learned this was the case from director Rob Reiner, who complimented the teenage Hawke before adding a bit of humor to the situation: “You’re really good, but I just gave the part to another kid with a bird name.”
Though Hawke was crushed by losing out on the role to Phoenix, he would go on to be cast opposite the late Robin Williams in 1989’s Dead Poets Society. The film vastly outperformed Stand By Me at the box office, and Dead Poets Society gave Hawke’s career the sort of boost that kept him on a relatively even keel with Phoenix, who was starring in another blockbuster at the time: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Sadly, Phoenix passed away in 1993 from a drug overdose. The young star’s sudden death was a heavy blow to Hawke, and it helped him to see how easy it was to be swept away by the Hollywood lifestyle. It was for this reason that he decided never to live in Los Angeles.
Today Hawke’s acting resume is filled with a wide variety of films and four Oscar nominations. Not being cast in Stand By Me had certainly been a major part of his career back in the ’80s, but the decades worth of roles and experience since have helped him to gain an ample amount of perspective. To be sure, the kid with a bird’s name has proved that one setback isn’t enough to define a career and that he’s grown into a major talent along the way.
Next: The Best Stephen King Movies AREN’T Horror – Here’s Why
Source: The Guardian
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