Mr. Keating might have been a beloved figure both for the young boys of Welton Academy and us growing up, and the actors of the famous coming-of-age movie ‘Dead Poets Society‘, but Ethan Hawke and Robin Williams might not have had the best correspondence off the screen.
Hawke (who played Ted Anderson) went as far as to say how he found Williams ‘incredibly irritating’ at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where he received the President’s award in 2021.
The Discord Between Ethan Hawke And Robin Williams
Only a few would fit the bill of playing a character as enigmatic as Mr. Keating and Robin Williams falls no short on the list. The ex-comedian turned actor mesmerized the audience with his acting skills and his natural sense of humor. However, perhaps it was this same gift of wits that might have been the cause of the ruse between Ethan and Williams.
Ethan Hawke engrossed in his method acting often didn’t lean into the humorous cracks of Williams which only drove the late comedian to make it his mission to make the young teen laugh. In one of Ethan’s interviews with Script Mag he mentioned, “When Robin sees a person not laughing, it becomes his mission to make them laugh. But I was really trying hard to be in Todd’s skin, and I really didn’t think Todd would think any of this shit was funny. This just made Robin nuts — so much so, that I thought he really didn’t like me.”
In another more recent interview, Hawke was caught admitting how he found Robin’s antics a bit over the top. According to Variety, the actor said, “I thought Robin hated me. He had a habit of making a ton of jokes on set. At 18, I found that incredibly irritating. He wouldn’t stop and I wouldn’t laugh at anything he did.”
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How Robin Williams Helped Ethan Hawke’s Career
However not all is lost, Ethan Hawke does admit to the event being a result of merely the rebelliousness that every 18-year-old goes through. He also adds how Robin Williams was actually a big catalyst in his career as he introduced the young star to his first manager. Ethan also recalls how he came to understand his jokes later on like how Robin once called him ‘intimidating’ merrily during the shoot which he didn’t appreciate at the time, but later on gained an insight.
He explained, “As I get older, I realize there is something intimidating about young people’s earnestness, their intensity. It is intimidating — to be the person they think you are. Robin was that for me.”
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