Ethan Hawke, the middle years

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Ethan Hawke directing

Ben Dickey and Ethan Hawke on the set of “Blaze”

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Photo by Josh Hamilton. Courtesy of IFC Films

Ethan Hawke has been busy. This summer he starred in Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” and the Nick Hornby adaptation “Juliet, Naked.” The fourth film that Hawke directed, “Blaze,” is out now.

Blaze is about a country-western singer-songwriter, Blaze Foley, who died young without ever really breaking out of his small cult status. It’s subversive, as far as music biopics go, because it’s not a standard cradle-to-grave chronology and it’s about someone most people haven’t heard of — and that’s the point.

“The movie doesn’t aspire to be a Wikipedia biopic,” Ethan Hawke tells Kurt Andersen. “It tries to be a blues song.”

Ethan Hawke talks about the virtues of hiring musicians to be actors, what he has learned not to do from fellow directors, what it means to be playing a grandfather at 47 years old, and what he really means when he shoots down “good” superhero movies.

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