Ethan Hawke came into SXSW with two movies that show his range as an actor in his 45-year-old prime.
In writer-director Robert Budreau’s low-key biopic “Born to Be Blue” (IFC, March 25), he plays melancholy jazzman Chet Baker, and in Ti West’s gritty western “In a Valley of Violence,” he’s a damaged—and dangerous— ex-soldier with nothing to lose but his horse and beloved dog.
Check out this exclusive clip from “Born to Be Blue,” which IFC Films scooped up from the Special Presentations section of the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Hawke is earning raves as tragic trumpet maestro Baker, as he stages a comeback in the late ‘60s after falling down from hard drugs too many times. Budreau combines a portrait of a troubled genius — in which Hawke truly sings, bloodied mug and all — with a love story.
Carmen Ejogo plays the actress who saves Baker, after he’s beaten nearly to death by a disgruntled drug dealer, from himself. For a moment, anyway. IFC plans to push for awards attention next year for Hawke, whose music doc “Seymour” was backed by the distributor’s sister label Sundance Selects earlier this year. (IFC carried Hawke to an Oscar nomination for “Boyhood.”)
At the SXSW jazz party for “Born to Be Blue,” Hawke hung out with “Midnight Special” star Michael Shannon and proudly displayed his custom blue Armani suit.