'I'd Rather Be A Mystery': John Hawkes On Keeping His Hat Pulled Down | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

'I'd Rather Be A Mystery': John Hawkes On Keeping His Hat Pulled Down

Play associated audio

John Hawkes' conversation with Melissa Block on today's All Things Considered begins as many of his conversations might: with her noting that when she told people she was coming to talk to him and rattled off his credits, she got a response that he undoubtedly gets a lot: "Ohhh, he's that guy."

Hawkes has been in the HBO show Deadwood, last year's Oscar nominee Winter's Bone, and this year's Martha Marcy May Marlene, in which he played a cult leader. He's done regular television — Lost and Psych and Monk and The X-Files and CSI. But still, to many people, he's "ohhh, that guy." Melissa Block asks him whether he thinks it's a drawback to be a character actor rather than a huge star. "I think to kind of be thought of as 'that guy,' or 'I think I know you from somewhere' kind of guy, is an asset for me," Hawkes explains. "I have a difficult time sometimes believing movie stars playing characters." He says even if he had the face to be a household name, he wouldn't care to be one: "I'd rather be invisible. I'd rather be a mystery."

While he generally gravitates to smaller films, Hawkes does have a role in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln. Whatever he's doing, he explains that big movies don't always satisfy his desire for storytelling. "I feel like the art that changes the world, which is what I want to be part of," he says, "is never the storyteller guessing what the audience would like, but rather the storyteller telling the story they would want to tell it. Audience be damned, in a way."

Ultimately, Hawkes says, given the mix of projects in which he tends to become involved, encountering the public isn't always easy for a guy who's somewhere between recognizable and not. "If someone comes up and says, 'I saw you in Winter's Bone, I'm usually thrilled. If someone comes up and says, 'My friend said you were in a movie, what movies were you in?' and things like that? It becomes more difficult to begin listing things — 'Well, I haven't seen that' 'Well, I haven't seen that.' Sometimes, it's easier just to keep your hat pulled down and move about and live a normal life."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In 'Blue Eyed Boy,' Author Reveals Long Recovery From Facial Burns

Robert Timberg, who was disfigured by a land mine as a Marine in Vietnam, went on to become a successful journalist. His new memoir Blue Eyed Boy charts his struggle to recover from his wounds.
NPR

Widely-Used Insecticides Are Leaching Into Midwest Rivers

Researchers found that a class of chemicals similar to nicotine used on corn and soy farms have run off into streams and rivers in the Midwest. There they may be harming aquatic life, like insects.
WAMU 88.5

McDonnell Trial Underway On Tuesday

With jury selection completed on Monday, opening statements are expected this morning in the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

NPR

Solving The Scourge That Is Slow Hotel Wi-Fi

Hotels are happy to charge you $300 a night for a stay, but their Wi-Fi speeds are often too slow to stream a movie. Now, two competing sites are trying to solve the problem.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.