Alongside a dynamic screen career that includes such generation-defining films as Reality Bites and The Before Trilogy, Ethan Hawke has enjoyed remarkable success on the stage as both an actor and director. It is thanks to his theatrical work that he makes an appearance, with playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman, on our brand-new edition of Volker Schlöndorrf’s Baal, based on a Brecht drama that Hawke and Sherman brought to the stage with their 2013 adaptation Clive.
Last year, during a visit to the Criterion offices to record a supplemental piece for Baal, the longtime friends and collaborators took a trip inside our film closet. In the above video marking the occasion, their close, convivial rapport immediately shines through, as does their infectious enthusiasm for movies. The two seem to share a taste for American standards—Tootsie, Ace in the Hole, and Five Easy Pieces. But they go farther afield too, with Sherman introducing Hawke to Nobuhiko Obayashi’s kaleidoscopically freaky House—“like doing acid without having to do acid”—and Hawke admitting his lingering feelings of jealousy toward Fassbinder. You may not be surprised by what Hawke declares the best thing in the closet!