Ethan Hawke was just 14 when he made his film debut in the sci-fi kids film "Explorers," which was also the film debut of River Phoenix. The movie was rushed into production and did such poor box office that Hawke quit acting until 1989.
Hawke led the ensemble cast of this gripping drama, based on the real-life, harrowing survival story of the Uruguayan rugby team that was forced into cannibalism to stay alive after a plane crash in the Andes Mountains.
Winona Ryder handpicked Hawke for the role of Gen X musician Troy Dyer, the poor romantic choice for her ambitious would-be filmmaker character. In fact, you probably aren't sure where Troy ends and Hawke (who actually wrote the songs he performs in "Boyhood") begins.
This marked the first of what was to be a 20-year collaboration with director Richard Linklater and co-star/co-writer Julia Delpy. Hawke was then 24 when he starred in this wistful, romantic movie about an American who falls for a French girl while seeing Europe by train.
Hawke took a two-year hiatus from film to focus on the theater and writing his first novel "The Hottest State." He was back with a bang with this stylish sci-fi thriller. He then married gorgeous co-star Uma Thurman in 1998, they split in 2005.
In this indie, contemporary retelling of the great Shakespeare play, Hawke took on the melancholy title role. His "To be or not to be" speech was delivered in a video store while Hawke wanders the aisles in overcoat and knit cap.
Who knew that this gritty action film would yield Hawke's first Oscar nomination? His co-star, Denzel Washington, took home the gold that year, but Hawke's role as a rookie cop remains one of his best.
Ten years after he first romanced Julie Delpy, the pair were reunited for this thoughtful, well-received sequel, which earned them (along with director Richard Linklater) an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
While it's hard to buy Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman as brothers, Hawke excels as the ne'er-do-well brother who agrees to the ill-advised robbery of his parents' jewelry store. Also, this was the last film from legendary director Sidney Lumet.
Hawke turns reluctant vampire in this indie horror film, the first entry for the actor into the genre. That same year, he also directed his second play, "A Lie of the Mind," by Sam Shepard, on the New York stage.
Hawke not only stars in Linklater's 12-year film project, but he has the upcoming thriller "Predestination" (based on Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies") and "Cymbeline," another Shakespeare adaptation with his "Hamlet" director Michael Almereyda.