Ethan Hawke puts his driving skills to the test in ‘Getaway’

Ethan Hawke plays Brent Magna in "Getaway" a movie about a high-speed car chase alongside co-star Selena Gomez. / Getty Images
Ethan Hawke plays Brent Magna in “Getaway” a movie about a high-speed car chase alongside co-star Selena Gomez. Credit: Getty Images

Ethan Hawke may play a former professional driver in his new film “Getaway,” but he didn’t get his start on a swanky race car.

“My first car was kind of sad,” Hawke told reporters Wednesday at a press conference. “My parents gave me for my 19th birthday this ancient Toyota Corolla and I loved it. I thought it was amazing and I drove it across the country. It was not aesthetically appealing in any way, it was not fast, it didn’t handle well, but it lasted forever and I drove it cross country and back. Then I gave it to my sister and she drove it for another 10 years.”

The film takes place almost exclusively in the Shelby Super Snake occupied by Hawke — his character, Brent Magna, must steal the car and complete the tasks given to him by a mysteriously creepy voice, if he ever wants to see his wife alive again. Along the way he is accompanied by the owner of the car, only ever referred to as “The Kid” (Selena Gomez). She tries to steal her car back by holding Magna at gunpoint. From that point on the entire film is a high-speed car chase with explosions, funny one-liners and a barometer needle pointing higher than ever.

And those explosions likely cost the crew a lot — at least 130 cars were destroyed in the making of the film, 58 on screen.

“They would’ve never let us shoot this movie in any city in America,” Hawke says. “There’s just no way, with everything flying around and guys hanging off. That aspect of it was a lot of fun.”

With the entirety of the movie being a car chase, Hawke was drawn to the ease of the script.

“It had a simplicity to it that I thought made it unique and fun and one that I would be interested to see,” he says. “In a lot of action movies, who plays the part just doesn’t matter. It’s so much about the explosions and things like that. But in this movie, I thought that whoever the actors were would have an opportunity to make an impact on the film and so it became more interesting to me because of that.”

Follow Julie Kayzerman on Twitter @juliekayzerman.



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