Ethan Hawke believes acclaimed writer-director Peter Weir retired from filmmaking due to bad experiences he endure while working with Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp on earlier projects. During an interview with IndieWire, Hawke discussed why he thinks Weir’s decision to stop making movies after the release of his 2010 survival drama, The Way Back, is related to his collaborations with Crowe and Depp.
The Academy Award-nominated star of The Black Phone added during the interview that collaborating with Crowe and Deep on other films in the decade before The Way Back‘s distribution convinced the scribe-helmer to stop working in the entertainment industry altogehter.
Hawke discussed the Australian filmmaker’s career while promoting his new HBO docuseries, The Last Movie Stars, which focuses on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Besides Hawke, the show also features contributions from Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, Sally Field and Laura Linney.
“I think [Weir] lost interest in movies,” Hawke said about the filmmaker who directed him in Dead Poets Society. “He really enjoyed that work when he didn’t have actors giving him a hard time. Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp broke him.”
Weir directed Crowe in the 2003 Oscar-winning drama, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. After that movie, the five-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker was set to direct Shantaram, which was set to feature Depp in a leading role. However, Weir ultimately left the movie due to creative differences before production began in 2007.
“He’s someone so rare these days, a popular artist,” Hawke also stated about Weir. “He makes mainstream movies that are artistic.
“To have the budget to do The Truman Show or Master and Commander, you need a Jim Carrey or Russell Crowe. I think Harrison Ford and Gérard Depardieu were his sort of actors. They were director-friendly and didn’t see themselves as important,” Hawke added.
Weir started his career making films, documentaries and television shows in his native Australia. In the mid-1980s, he moved to the U.S. and made back-to-back films with Ford, including Witness and The Mosquito Coast. He was ultimately nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars for Witness, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show and Master and Commander.