Ethan Hawke and Maya Hawke weigh in on the nepo baby debate: ‘I’m not embarrassed about it’

Ethan Hawke wears a black blazer with a white collared shirt and Maya Hawke wears a floral print dress
Father-daughter duo Ethan and Maya Hawke weighed in on the nepo baby debate.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Ethan Hawke and his famous daughter Maya Hawke have waded into the nepo baby discourse waters.

The father-daughter duo addressed the topic in an interview with Variety published Tuesday while talking about “Wildcat,” a new movie that they worked on together.

“Put simply, I’m a nepo dad!” Ethan Hawke jokingly said of the issue. “And I’m not embarrassed about it.”


Buzzy new movies starring Annette Bening and Colman Domingo began their awards campaigns at Telluride, but with their actors absent due to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Sept. 3, 2023

Adding more subtlety and context to their situation, Maya Hawke, whose famous mother is “Kill Bill” actor Uma Thurman, said, “I had moments of insecurity about it while we were shooting the movie. But the internet doesn’t have a lot of nuances. My dad has been a massive teacher for me, and we want to work together. We like being with each other.”

The “First Reformed” actor noted that he’s open to and understanding of the criticisms that people have regarding nepo babies.

“If someone wants to criticize us for working together, that’s totally fair,” the elder Hawke said. “You have to let people have their opinion. You just have to try to do a good job when you’re onstage.”

Telluride: Ethan and Maya Hawke and Laura Linney chat about their new Flannery O’Connor biopic ‘Wildcat’ and the complexities of the author’s life.

Sept. 3, 2023

The movie that the two worked on, “Wildcat,” is a 1950s period piece that chronicles the struggles that Southern Gothic American writer Flannery O’Connor — played by Maya Hawke — faced when she tried to publish her first novel. Ethan Hawke directed the film and co-wrote the script alongside Shelby Gaines. The indie project is one of the movies that is able to be promoted by its stars during the SAG-AFTRA strike because it has an interim agreement.

The two Hawkes also spoke about how their on-set dynamic worked while filming “Wildcat” in a recent interview with The Times’ Josh Rottenberg.

The 25-year-old Hawke quipped that working with her father was “horrible.”

SAG-AFTRA is no longer going to approve interim agreements on productions that have a contract with the Writers Guild of America.

Aug. 15, 2023

At the film’s premiere at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival, Ethan Hawke noted that the decision to cast actor Laura Linney in the movie would “crush any cuteness of the dad-daughter act that needed to be crushed.”


“What I meant by crushing any cuteness out of it was that I have worked with Laura and watched her work, and I know what she does to an environment,” the “Before Sunrise” actor told The Times. “Excellence is contagious. I knew Laura would put a ton of thought into this because that’s what she does, and I knew that would be contagious to the two of us.”

The ‘Stranger Things” star added that it was “wonderful” to work together with her dad.

SAG-AFTRA approved side agreements allowing more than 100 independent film projects and series to move forward amid the strike, but the deals have spurred debate.

Aug. 3, 2023

“When I have enjoyed my job the most is when it doesn’t feel like: Now I’m at work. When it feels like you can feel the connective tissue of your life in your work,” she said. “It’s all connected and it’s what gives you a center of gravity in a life that doesn’t have one naturally. So it was a wonderful experience, a continuation of a long story that had a lot of characters and a lot of plot lines for all of us.”

Ethan Hawke said he and his daughter have a connection that comes across in their work because they “grew up together,” to which Maya Hawke built on, mentioning, “And are watching each other grow and fail and succeed.”

Of working with the Hawkes, Linney told The Times,”There was no cuteness. There were two unbelievably committed, loving, kind, decent artists digging very deep together. And because they are father and daughter, because they happen to like each other — which many father and daughters don’t, you know — there was a trust that was incredibly high and so moving to me because I had it myself.”