According to Ethan Hawke, director of The Truman Show, Peter Weir retired because of actors like Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp.< /strong>
Popular and acclaimed filmmaker, Peter Weir is among others the director of Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show or Les Chemins de la liberté. After being nominated several times at the Oscars ceremony, in 2023 he will receive an honorary statuette for all of his work. However, despite his prestigious career, Weir has ceased all activity for almost a decadenow. This retirement has never been commented on by the principal concerned or by anyone.
That was before Ethan Hawke. The actor recently mentioned Peter Weir during an interview with Indiewire, in which the journalist recalled that his early career owed a lot to the filmmaker (thanks to their collaboration in The Dead Poets Society). And at that time, Ethan Hawke gave the reasons why the filmmaker had said stop at the cinema, according to him:
“I think he lost interest in making movies. He loved his job when his actors weren't giving him trouble. Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp totally broke him. Yet it's so rare to see popular artists like him now. He makes mainstream movies that are still artistic. But to get the budget to make The Truman Show or Master and Commander, you need a Jim Carrey or a Russell Crowe. I think Harrison Ford and Gerard Depardieu were also that kind of actor, but they were nicer to a director: they didn't see themselves as more important than the rest.”
Ethan Hawke's acidic commentary is not without surprise. The cause of Peter Weir's retirement is, according to him, the ego of certain actors who are a little too tumultuous on the set. Far from taking gloves, he even points the finger at big names like those of Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp.
Why these names in particular? A choice maybe arbitrary, but the odds are slim. One of them certainly refers to one of the last works of Peter Weir. Master and Commander, the anti-Pirates of the Caribbean, had reunited the filmmaker with Russell Crowe on a set that was probably very trying. Despite Hawke's statements, the pair raved about each other in the aftermath of the film. However, the seven-year hiatus between that film and the director's final feature seems to indicate that somehow Weie was at his wit's end by the end of filming >.
As for Johnny Depp, if it is curious to see him mentioned (he has never appeared in a Peter Weir film), Ethan Hawke is undoubtedly referring to Shantaram, an unfinished project entrusted to Peter Weir after Master and Commander . Johnny Depp was supposed to have a part in it before the filmmaker jumped ship over artistic disagreement. We don't know much more, but once again Hawke's allegations rather suggest a major discord between Weir and his actors, having caused him to abandon a film.
Finally, we must be wary of risky ad hominem accusations and here we must above all remember that the blame of Ethan Hawke (who rants a lot in this moment) is aimed rather at the entire profession. It is indeed the ego of superstar actors that he calls into question and the difficulty for artists to work in conditions that are less and less favorable to them and where they are forced to hire famous comedians to shoot with.