Ethan Hawke didn’t want his latest film to feel like something made on a whim. Making “Blaze,” a biopic of the late country singer Blaze Foley, Hawke realized that directing a movie is only worthwhile if it feels like it’s something you need to do.
“It means so much to me. A ‘labor of love’ sounds like something you do as a hobby to me,” Hawke said, speaking at the IndieWire Sundance Studio presented by Dropbox. Of making films (of which this is his fourth) he added, “It’s what I want to be alive for.”
As an artist, Foley (played in the film by Benjamin Dickey) has gained a growing amount of respect and fame since his untimely passing in 1989. “Blaze” looks to tell the full story of the “Clay Pigeons” singer’s love and heartbreak in a trio of key moments before and after his death.
“The whole idea of the movie is centered around Ben Dickey and the love of Blaze Foley’s music. That’s like the start of the snowball,” Hawke said.
If this film isn’t quite a “labor of love,” then what is it for the people involved in helping bring it to life?
“A labor of hope,” Dickey offered.
“Blaze,” which also stars, Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, and Charlie Sexton, is one of the 16 films in Sundance 2018’s U.S. Dramatic Competition.