Why Ethan Hawke and Brad Pitt say they are on the last leg of their careers

The actors, who were Hollywood's leading men in the 1990s, have both talked about the 'end of the road' as performers

Ethan Hawke and Brad Pitt have both discussed being in the last stages of their acting career. AP and AFP
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Two of Hollywood's biggest stars from the 1990s are pondering the end of days for their careers. Ethan Hawke and Brad Pitt, who once ruled the American film industry as leading men, have sparked debate after talking about their waning days as actors.

Hawke, 51, known for romantic films such as Reality Bites (1994) and Before Sunrise (1995), made headlines this week when he told IndieWire in an extensive interview that he believed he was at the "beginning of my last act" in his career.

"I’ve definitely made the turn from being an old young person to being a young old person," the actor said, referring to his role playing American abolitionist John Brown in the 2020 miniseries The Good Lord Bird.

 Peter Elkind and Ethan Hawke, left, arrive for the screening of 'Triangle of Sadness' during the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France on May 21, 2022. EPA

"I feel like playing John Brown was that for me: the beginning of my 'old man' career, the beginning of my last act. I definitely find myself looking over a filmography and thinking about which ones I could’ve cut out because I only have so much time left.

"I know I only have so many movies left. You have an awareness of time. When I was younger, I was like, 'I’ll do this, I’ll do that, that’ll be a good learning experience, and then I’ll try this', thinking I had all the time in the world. Now, I’m like, 'I didn’t learn anything from that one or that one, and that one would’ve been better spent in three months with my family'."

Hawke was promoting his latest directorial venture, the documentary series The Last Movie Stars, based on the life of actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, whose 50-year marriage and relationship has been often cited as one of the great Hollywood love stories.

Hawke referencing his last days as an actor comes a month after Pitt, 58, said something similar while promoting his coming action film, Bullet Train.

“I consider myself on my last leg. This last semester or trimester. What is this section gonna be? And how do I wanna design that?" Pitt told GQ magazine.

Some of Pitt's most beloved films are from the 1990s, including crime thriller Seven (1995), the science fiction film 12 Monkeys (1995) and the cult favourite Fight Club (1999).

“He’s one of the last remaining big-screen movie stars,” acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino, who worked with Pitt in Inglourious Basterds and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, told GQ. "It’s just a different breed of man. And frankly, I don’t think you can describe exactly what that is because it’s like describing starshine."

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Updated: July 20, 2022, 9:47 AM