Ethan Hawke Says River Phoenix's Death Is The Reason Why He Doesn't Live In Hollywood

Ethan Hawke said River Phoenix's death from a drug overdose in 1993 was "a big lesson for me".

Ethan Hawke thinks it would be "too dangerous" for him to move to Hollywood.

The Training Day star — who lives in New York with wife Ryan Shawhughes and their kids Clementine 12 and nine-year-old Indiana, and is also dad to Maya, 22, and Levon, 18, from his marriage to Uma Thurman — learned a "big lesson" from seeing his friend and Explorers co-star River Phoenix die from an overdose in 1993 aged just 23 because he believes his pal was "chewed up" by the film industry.

He told The Guardian newspaper: "You know what you asked me about earlier, why I don’t make easier movies? Well, my first screen partner overdosed on Sunset Boulevard, you know? He was the brightest light and this industry chewed him up, and that was a big lesson to me.

"If I had to put a single reason on why I never moved to LA, it would be I think it’s too dangerous for an actor like me to be in that kind of climate."

Ethan believes movie stars often get "distracted" by the culture surrounding Hollywood, which leads to downward spirals because while they have all the material possessions they could want, they don't have the sense of "self, purpose and love" that they crave.

He said: "Drugs and alcohol and depression are formidable opponents all over the world. People think getting what you want will make you happy, but a sense of self, purpose and love don’t come from the outside.

"You can’t get distracted by this culture that celebrates things that sometimes aren’t what they seem."

Meanwhile, Ethan, who turned 50 on Nov 6, admitted he doesn't think his character Troy from classic movie Reality Bites would be viewed as a romantic lead in this day and age.

He said: "I can see that now. But back then the ne’er do well who’s an asshole had a cool factor. Now every girl would go for the Ben Stiller character, whereas they’d look at Troy and think, ‘That dude’s going nowhere.' "

Ethan's latest, The Good Lord Bird, a seven-part mini-series about an abolitionist and a slave boy, just ended its run. It's available to stream on Fox+. — BANG

Photo: TPG News/Click Photos

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