The film version of Ethan Hawke's The Hottest State, which he adapted from his own novel of the same name, represents a strange form of time-travel. In it, the young actor Mark Webber embodies the kind of character -- self-conscious, scruffy, chatty, and able to make self-deprecation seem downright pretentious -- that Hawke himself grew out of playing about 10 years ago. Webber even sounds a bit like Hawke in his voiceover narration; it's like a low-tech version of motion capture, allowing Hawke to virtually direct his ten-years-younger self.
Perhaps not coincidentally, a decade back is about when the novel version of The Hottest State came out. Webber/Hawke's William is an aspiring actor, apparently, though if this aspect of the character is autobiographical, Hawke left out any details that explain how exactly he got through any auditions without clever asides or other low-key hipster gestures. William is the type of guy who talks about acting almost exclusively in terms of personal metaphors about pretending and deception, despite never appearing to act like anyone but his own insecure, talkative self. While I don't doubt that some young actors behave this way, I have a little more trouble believing they'd somehow get flown down to Mexico to star in an Alfonso Cuarón movie (the name of the fictional film's director is never mentioned, but it's briefly visible on a clapboard, just long enough to register vague disbelief, even if it is just an autobiographical in-joke -- the real-life Hawke appeared in Cuarón's version of Great Expectations).
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