Ethan Hawke reflects on how he ended up directing six-episode docuseries, The Last Movie Stars, for CNN Films and HBO Max in the above spot produced by Mocean.
“Right before the pandemic started, one of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s kids approached me to direct a documentary about Paul and Joanne,” he says over a Zoom call. “Paul had begun working on a memoir. They did over 100 interviews.”
“What happened to these tapes?” asks Alessandro Nivola.
“He poured gasoline on them and lit them on fire. Except that they had had them all transcribed. I’m trying to turn it into a play with voices, a community looking back,” Hawke responds.
From there, Hawke recruited such actors as George Clooney and Laura Linney to voice Newman and Woodward, along with Karen Allen, George Clooney, Oscar Isaac, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Zoe Kazan, Laura Linney, Sam Rockwell and more. Four-time Oscar nominee Hawke also interviewed some of the couple’s daughters as well as Sally Field and executive producer Martin Scorsese to get more insight into the couple.
Oscar winners Woodward and Newman starred in such classic films as Cool Hand Luke, Hud, The Three Faces of Eve, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Hustler and more. Beyond acting, they also focused on social justice and human rights, raising hundreds of millions of dollars for causes they believed in, including civil rights and the environment. Newman also famously raced cars throughout his life.
In addition to Scorsese, Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, are also executive producers; Mario Andretti is a co-producer. The documentary is produced by Emily Wachtel and Lisa Long Adler of Nook House Productions, Ryan Hawke of Under the Influence Productions, and Adam Gibbs. Hamilton Leithauser is the composer for the original score.
The above spot is scored to “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” by Lana del Ray and Stevie Nicks.
All six episodes of The Last Movie Stars, which originally premiered at SXSW followed by Cannes, started streaming Thursday, July 21 on HBO Max.