People Already Hate Ethan Hawke’s Next Project

Ethan Hawke has drawn criticism for casting his daughter, Maya Hawke, in his latest movie.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Veteran actor and Black Phone star Ethan Hawke is getting behind the camera to direct his next major project, Wildcat. As Variety reports, the cast of this Flannery O’Connor biography includes Laura Linney, Steve Zahn, and Vincent D’Onofrio, but much of the online discourse regarding the film has focused on the fact that it will star Hawke’s daughter Maya Hawke as O’Connor. This has kicked off an extremely negative reaction to the film on Twitter, where users have accused Ethan Hawke of engaging in nepotism by using his clout to get his daughter roles in major films.

This user, for example, broaches the topic of Ethan Hawke and nepotism by implicitly declaring that his daughter Maya Hawke is “the real nepo baby.” The term itself is a reference to recent online discussions of Hollywood heavyweights helping their children gain starring roles in films. The online discourse usually focuses on whether this is an unfair practice or if it is in principle no different than, say, a plumber helping his child join the family business.

Some users took exception to the announcement of the movie. For example, this user casts doubt on whether there was much of a casting process or not. Instead, they accuse Ethan Hawke of nepotism by saying he just asked his daughter whether she wanted to be in his movie or not.

Meanwhile, this user makes a tongue-in-cheek joke about how Ethan Hawke’s alleged nepotism is just the latest case of this happening in Hollywood. They go so far as to declare this phenomenon “the nepo-verse.” It’s just a joke, but we have to admit that a meta-movie starring several of these nepo babies crossing over as characters from different movies would be quite funny.

In a few cases, Twitter users said the quiet part out loud. For instance, this user points out that most of the people accusing Ethan Hawke of nepotism are just jealous of his daughter. Honestly, getting offered a chance to make serious bank doing anything would be a treat, and getting to become famous as well would just be the cherry on top.

Most who defend Ethan Hawke against nepotism criticism believe he is doing the same thing as any other actor would do for their kids. However, this user notes how Idris Elba didn’t hesitate to make his own daughter audition for Beast, and he declined to cast her based on that performance. Of course, Elba himself admits that he faced some awkwardness with his daughter afterward.

Every now and then, users managed to separate their criticisms of Ethan Hawke and his alleged nepotism from their feelings toward Maya Hawke. This user points out how this is a perfect example of “peak nepotism” while still noting how much they like her. And other users were quick to point out that she was a solid actor in Stranger Things, so there is no reason to believe she’ll be bad in this film.

Maya Hawke as Robin in Stranger Things

Whether or not Ethan Hawke engaged in nepotism or genuinely thought Maya was the best casting choice is something we will never know. Wildcat just began production earlier this month, so it will be a while before audiences can evaluate its quality. After all, when the smoke of the nepo baby discourse finally clears up, all that really matters is whether the final film is good or not.