Actor Ethan Hawke says he was “comfortable” directing his daughter Maya’s graphic sex scenes for their upcoming film Wildcat, a biopic on author Flannery O’Connor.
“We were so comfortable with it. I couldn’t care less,” Hawke told Variety, adding that he believes “it was weird” for his daughter’s co-stars Rafael Casal and Cooper Hoffman.
Maya, who was also present during the interview with Variety, added, “We made sure to have an intimacy coordinator on set for them. So that they felt safe and comfortable and not like they were being spied on.”
“By some creepy dad,” Hawke interjected.
The upcoming film Wildcat is a biopic about the late O’Connor, played by Maya Hawke, as she tried to get her first book published.
Not much is known about the private life of O’Connor, other than that she was born in 1925 and died from from lupus at age 39. She also spent the bulk of her life confined to her mother’s living room.
A devout Catholic, O’Connor never married and only admitted to one (awkward) kiss in her autobiographical writings. However, in Wildcat, the 25-year-old Hawke also portrays women in her stories — such as Joy Hopewell, the sheltered amputee who gets seduced by a Bible salesman in “Good Country People” — supplying the rationale for her father-directed sex scenes.
In the interview, Maya went on to accuse the late author of benefiting from white privilege.
“She’s not a clear-cut hero by any stretch of the imagination,” the Stranger Things actress said, likely referring to O’Connor having used the N-word in her written work.
“She benefited from a lot of the privilege of whiteness, while being deprived of a lot of the privilege of maleness. Can you make a movie about someone without hero-worshipping them?” Maya added.
Nonetheless, the Hawkes decided to go ahead with making the film, reportedly wanting to show viewers that people who are interesting are not necessarily “good.”
“But in all of their faults, they are worth studying as a way of understanding the history of this country,” Maya said.
But Maya has privileges of her own, as elsewhere in the interview, Hawke joked about how he is a “nepo dad” — referring to nepotism — which the actress admitted has made her feel insecure at times.
“Put simply, I’m a nepo dad!” Hawke exclaimed. “And I’m not embarrassed about it.”
Variety pointed out that “the look on Maya’s face” after he said that “suggests she’s instantly concerned about how that declaration will resonate.”
“I had moments of insecurity about it while we were shooting the movie,” Maya said.
“But the internet doesn’t have a lot of nuances,” the Little Women star added. “My dad has been a massive teacher for me, and we want to work together. We like being with each other.”