January 7, 2010 / 8:57 PM / 9 years ago

Ethan Hawke bares fangs in movie "Daybreakers"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood is wild about vampires, and actor Ethan Hawke hopes to take a bite out of that craze with his starring role in the movie “Daybreakers,” which has what he calls a new take on the genre.

Actor Ethan Hawke listens during a news conference at the Teatro Espanol in Madrid, in this April 16, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

The movie, opening on Friday, hits theaters as Hollywood has been exploring a renewed love affair with immortal bloodsuckers.

The romance-drenched “Twilight” movies are generating blockbuster ticket sales at box offices, largely by appealing to school-age girls. Critical hit “True Blood,” which enters its third season this year on cable TV network HBO, aims at adults with its sexual content and social commentary.

But Hawke said there’s still room for “Daybreakers” at Hollywood’s crowded vampire dance. “We are the antidote to ‘Twilight’ and ‘True Blood’ and things like that. We are an old school horror movie,” Hawke told Reuters.

“My hope is we will end the inundation of the genre. There’s always the saturation point. Maybe (it’s popularity) ended two weeks ago, I actually don’t think so,” he said.

In “Daybreakers,” Hawke plays a vampire scientist who lives in a world where bloodsuckers are the dominant species.

Humans are scarce because they have been treated like lunch, but Hawke’s character is trying to find a blood substitute so vampires can feast, guilt free. Instead, he makes a discovery that looms even larger for the vampire race.

Hawke said the science fiction nature of “Daybreakers” and the allegory to natural resources being bled dry sets the film apart from teen-oriented tales like “Twilight.” He called it “the first post-adolescent” vampire movie in recent years.


Hawke read the script back before 2008’s “Twilight,” which made $385 million at worldwide box offices, and November sequel “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with its $683 million take.

“I read it and I was like, ‘Guys, time to bring back the vampire.’ Little did I know that we’d be riding a long wave of people” with the same idea, he said.

Hawke appears to take it all in stride, though, because at this point, the 39 year-old actor is a veteran of entertainment industries. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in 2001’s “Training Day,” and he has written two novels. But don’t expect a third one from him anytime soon.

“Now I have three kids, and adult life has been bearing down on me a little bit,” Hawke said. “I have this fantasy that I’m going to write a ton of books when they go to college.”

Hawke had one of his most iconic roles in 1994 film “Reality Bites,” in which he played a bright slacker who shared a grunge ethos with the bands like Nirvana, and went from one low-end job to another.

“How much of that is me? I’ve had a funny relationship to my own success my whole life where I kind of chased it and then chased it away,” he said.

But that does not mean Hawke is slacking off with his own career these days. His latest project is directing a New York stage production of the Sam Shepard play “A Lie of the Mind.”

Unlike when he was younger, Hawke said he now realizes he needs to have financial success, otherwise he can’t get his passion projects — like an eventual follow-up to his romance movie “Before Sunset” — off the ground.

“Life is full of all these weird compromises, and you have to live in reality about it,” he said. “You can’t have children and not pick your kids up and go to school.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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