×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlin: Ethan Hawke Brings Jazz Pic ‘Born to Be Blue’ to Fest

With his efforts to campaign for “Boyhood” almost complete, Ethan Hawke is turning his attention to the promotion of his latest film, “Born to Be Blue,” in which he plays jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. The film, which is being sold in Berlin by K5 Intl., is in post production.

Hawke is keen to explain that it is “not a conventional biopic, but rather a reimagining of Chet’s life.” He told Variety the film portrays “not what was, but what could have been.” He added: “I have been hypnotized by Chet Baker since I discovered him in Bruce Weber’s ‘Let’s Get Lost.’ Having lost River Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman — two friends, two of the best minds of my generation — the tragedy feels particularly fresh to me.”

The film focuses on a period in Baker’s life in the 1960s when he loses his teeth in a violent attack. It looks like his career is over. The film follows his efforts to make a comeback, aided by the tough love of his partner, played by “Selma” actress Carmen Ejogo.

“At its essence, it is a comeback story and a mature love story,” the film’s director-writer Robert Budreau told Variety.

Baker struggled with heroin addiction for most of his life. In the period covered by the film he is clean, but the threat of a relapse is constant. His self-destructive streak could have pushed the film in a nihilistic direction, but Hawke’s portrayal guards against that.

“One of the things Ethan brings is that he is an enormously sympathetic person, and his interpretation of Chet is quite sympathetic, and there is a lot of humor, lightness and pathos. There are both dark and light moments,” Budreau said.

“One way to do the story would have been to do a dark, doomed and moody jazz piece, but we tried to fight against that,” Budreau said.

Hawke learned to play the trumpet for the film, and all the singing in the film is his own.

Budreau said the film “has a free-form indie feel to it appropriate to the type of music.” He cites as inspirations films such as “Raging Bull” and “Walk the Line.”

Race plays an important underlying aspect in the film, Budreau said. Baker was “a beautiful, white West Coast icon” married to a mixed-race woman, and “trying to get the respect of his black idols,” such as Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

Pic is produced by Jennifer Jonas and Leonard Farlinger of New Real Films, Budreau of Lumanity Productions and Jake Seal of Black Hangar Studios.

More Film

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Marc Malkin The Big Ticket Podcast

    Variety, iHeartMedia Launch New Film Podcast 'The Big Ticket' With Marc Malkin

    Variety and iHeartMedia have announced the premiere of “The Big Ticket,” a new weekly film-focused podcast hosted by Marc Malkin, the magazine’s senior film awards and events & lifestyle editor. The podcast will feature sit-down interviews with Hollywood’s hottest stars and filmmakers talking movies, the business and more. New episodes will be released every Thursday [...]

  • 2019 Box Office Placeholder

    Can 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Lion King' and Other Summer Movies Rescue the Box Office?

    In the summer, as temperatures rise and schools go on break, Hollywood likes to stick to a well-worn formula: Pack the multiplexes with franchises, spinoffs, reboots and remakes. This coming season will be no different — with hopes that the pay off at the box office will help reverse the current turndown in ticket sales. [...]

  • Cameron Crowe, David Crosby in Park

    Cameron Crowe on Putting 'the Most Colorful Life Ever,' David Crosby's, on Screen

    Cameron Crowe jokes that David Crosby is following his career path. The star’s frankness and tell-it-like-it-is demeanor has resulted in Rolling Stone magazine’s invitation to set up the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s next act as a rock Dear Abby of sorts with his new column: “Ask Croz.” “Isn’t that great?” says Crowe, the Oscar-winning [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Copy of 'Avengers: Endgame' Full Movie Hits Piracy Networks (Report)

    Disney/Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame,” poised to be the hugest movie opening in history, has hit piracy networks — two days before its U.S. premiere — with a copy evidently recorded in a Chinese movie theater now circulating online, according to a published report. Users in China began sharing a 1.2-gigabyte file of “Avengers: Endgame” on peer-to-peer [...]

  • Easy Lessons Dorottya Zurbo Documentary

    European Film Promotion Hits Hot Docs Festival With Changing Face of Europe Pic Selection

    For the second edition of the Changing Face of Europe, a collaboration between the Hot Docs film festival (April 25-May 5) and European Film Promotion (EFP), 10 European documentaries will offer Toronto audiences a provocative and kaleidoscopic portrait of the cultural forces shaping the continent today. The program is a study in both intimate, personal [...]

  • Gabrielle Union Marketing Summit

    Listen: How Gabrielle Union Bet on Herself and Changed Her Brand

    Actress Gabrielle Union said she was nearly 17 years past the expiration date of her mass appeal when she got the brand partnership of her dreams. “They tell you that after 26, ‘Honey, hang it up,'” Union said on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” The episode was recorded during a keynote [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content