Ethan Hawke Talks Working With A ‘Powerful Group of Women’ in Rebecca Miller’s ‘Maggie’s Plan’

Ethan Hawke Greta Gerwig Maggies Plan.
Amy Sussman/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Ethan Hawke is one of the stars of Rebecca Miller’s new screwball romantic comedy, “Maggie’s Plan,” which had a special screening on Thursday at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York. But the actor said his decision to work on the film was all about the women in charge.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in my life on sets that were boys clubs,” Hawke said. “This was a really powerful group of women,” he added, referring to Miller as well as his co-stars Greta Gerwig and Julianne Moore. “It was really fun. I have a lot of respect for those women.”

The film centers on Gerwig (the titular Maggie) who wants to become a mother, and plans to get pregnant through artificial insemination, until her plans go awry. Miller wrote the the screenplay based on the short story by her friend Karen Rinaldi, and talked about why it felt particularly relevant.

“I have friends who have had babies in almost every way possible – the scientific way, the friend way, the sperm donor way,” Miller said. “And not only because of that, but also because of the way that relationships are so fluid in it.”

Moore, another of Miller’s friends, said that she was drawn to play the self-absorbed scholar Georgette for the chance at a comic role. “Literally the day after I won the Oscar I was on the set for this movie,” she said.

So was the decision to follow up her heartbreaking role in “Still Alice” with comedy on purpose? “It wasn’t intentional at all,” she said. “I wish I had that much control, but I don’t.”

Miller worked with Gerwig and Moore for about a year leading up to filming the movie, and bonded over the experience, grabbing coffee, exchanging texts and going shopping for the characters. “It was really work that came out of love and trust and honesty,” Miller said. A dress that Miller and Gerwig bought together even made it into the movie.

Gerwig said the long lead-up wasn’t really the plan, but it gave them lots of time to ideate and prepare. “[Maggie] is a very different person than I am,” Gerwig said. “She’s not very neurotic, actually. And she doesn’t operate out of guilt. And I’m very neurotic and I operate out of guilt all the time.”

“Rebecca’s script really reminded me of my favorite of Woody Allen’s relationship comedies, but it was so distinctly from a woman’s point of view,” producer Susan Wrubel said about the film’s subversive, comedic tone. “It’s so special,” added Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker. “It redefines the romantic comedy genre we thought we knew so well.”

Several other cast members, including Travis Fimmel, attended the screening and party held at Ladurée in SoHo’s outdoor back patio. There, guests were treated to themed cocktails, savory French pastries and the shop’s signature, delectable macaroons. The film’s other stars Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader did not attend, but other notable attendees did, including Miller’s husband Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano and Bennett Miller.

“Maggie’s Plan” opens in theaters on May 20.