Acting legend Ethan Hawke has claimed that Johnny Depp and Russell Crowe are partially accountable for the acclaimed director Peter Weir’s 12-year absence from Hollywood.
During a recent interview with IndieWire, Hawke was asked why the man behind films such as Dead Poets Society and Picnic at Hanging Rock, who is to receive an honorary Oscar for his work, hasn’t released a film since 2012’s survival drama The Way Back.
“I think he lost interest in movies,” Hawke opined. “He really enjoyed that work when he didn’t have actors giving him a hard time. Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp broke him.”
Crowe starred in one of Weir’s most successful films, the historical epic Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, and Depp was set to play the lead role in the movie adaptation of Gregory David Roberts’ book Shantaram. However, Weir left the project before it was due to commence filming in 2014.
At the time, a representative for Warner Bros explained: “Peter moved on from this film because his interpretation of it differed greatly than that of the studio and producers.”
Notably, Hawke and Weir haven’t worked together since 1989’s Dead Poets Society, and when asked by the interviewer about the possibility of future collaborations with the director, Hawke seemed doubtful. “He’s someone so rare these days, a popular artist,” Hawke said. “He makes mainstream movies that are artistic.”
“I think Harrison Ford and Gerard Depardieu were his sort of actors,” he continued, referencing Weir’s films Witness and Green Card. “They were director-friendly and didn’t see themselves as important.”
This year has been a busy one for Hawke. He’s currently starring in Marvel’s series Moon Knight, and when speaking to GQ in March, he revealed that he’s “scared” about the future of the film industry, noting the decline in director-driven projects.
“I get scared when things get less director-driven,” he said. “I’m scared of streaming, I can’t stand the word content.”
The actor concluded: “It starts to make me feel like we’re devising a world like Wall-E where people drink smoothies and just press play. I don’t want to be a part of that.”