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Ethan Hawke Says He Found Robin Williams 'Irritating' While Making Dead Poets Society

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Ethan Hawke Says He Found Robin Williams 'Irritating' While Making Dead Poets Society

Ethan Hawke has reflected on finding Robin Williams irritating on the set of Dead Poets Society.

Hawke made his breakthrough appearance in the 1989 drama when he was just 18, starring alongside late great Williams.

The film was a critical and commercial success, winning numerous awards and receiving loads more nominations.

But while the end result is there for all to see, Hawke said his relationship on set with Williams was a bit bumpy.

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Hawke thought Williams hated him when they were making Dead Poets Society. Credit: Buena Vista Pictures
Hawke thought Williams hated him when they were making Dead Poets Society. Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

According to Variety, he said: "I thought Robin hated me.

"He had a habit of making a ton of jokes on set. At 18, I found that incredibly irritating. He wouldn't stop and I wouldn't laugh at anything he did."

Ultimately though, Williams - who took his own life in 2014 - ended up helping Hawke to land his first agent.

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Hawke said: "He [the agent] called, saying, 'Robin Williams says you are going to do really well.'

"There was this scene in the film when he makes me spontaneously make up a poem in front of the class. He made this joke at the end of it, saying that he found me intimidating. I thought it was a joke.

"As I get older, I realise there is something intimidating about young people's earnestness, their intensity. It is intimidating - to be the person they think you are. Robin was that for me."

Hawke previously said that it was clear Williams was battling his own personal demons as far back as Dead Poets Society - for which he received an Oscar nomination.

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Hawke said he could tell Williams was struggling back in 1989. Credit: PA
Hawke said he could tell Williams was struggling back in 1989. Credit: PA

Speaking on Canadian radio show Q with Jian Ghomeshi a month after Williams' suicide, he said: "Even [when I was] 18, it was obvious that he was in a tremendous amount of pain.

"Anybody who was watching knew. A lot of people aren't watching, actually because he's so funny...

"When we lose a great, great clown, that's what he was, there are people who are scared of that world a little, but he was a light for the world."

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He continued: "First off, I feel this immediate sadness that is pervasive, in the whole community, when somebody who made all of us so happy reveals themselves to have been in tremendous personal pain," continued Hawke.

"The happiness wasn't reciprocal - we didn't make him happy. That somehow rings to all of us. I think that it's not just me."

Featured Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity, Robin Williams, US Entertainment

Jake Massey
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