Ethan Hawke thought Robin Williams hated him after they made 'Dead Poets Society'

·Contributor
·2-min read
One of Ethan Hawke's earliest roles was alongside Robin Williams in 'Dead Poets Society'. (Francois Duhamel/Sygma via Getty Images)
One of Ethan Hawke's earliest roles was alongside Robin Williams in 'Dead Poets Society'. (Francois Duhamel/Sygma via Getty Images)

Ethan Hawke thought Robin Williams hated him after they worked together on Dead Poets Society.

The 1989 film proved to be a breakout performance for the teenage Hawke, who portrayed shy junior high student Todd Anderson in the classic drama.

Williams, meanwhile, was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of inspirational teacher John Keating, which would become one of his most beloved roles.

Read more: Robin Williams doc director reveals brain illness

Speaking during a Q&A session at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechia, reported via Variety, Hawke confessed that he "thought Robin hated me" while they were making the movie.

He added: "He had a habit of making a ton of jokes on set. At 18, I found that incredibly irritating. He wouldn’t stop and I wouldn’t laugh at anything he did."

Watch: Ethan Hawke reveals how Dead Poets Society changed him

Hawke confirmed that their relationship became warmer over time and that Williams ultimately helped him get his first agent.

He added: "There was this scene in the film when he makes me spontaneously make up a poem in front of the class. 

"He made this joke at the end of it, saying that he found me intimidating. I thought it was a joke. 

"As I get older, I realize there is something intimidating about young people’s earnestness, their intensity. It is intimidating – to be the person they think you are. Robin was that for me."

'Dead Poets Society' earned Robin Williams an Oscar nomination. (Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images)
'Dead Poets Society' earned Robin Williams an Oscar nomination. (Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images)

Dead Poets Society was an enormous critical and commercial success, earning $236m (£171m) at the global box office and winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

It was also nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Williams's nod for Best Actor.

Read more: Robin Williams's life in quotes

The film — and particularly the scene involving the Walt Whitman poem O Captain! My Captain! — has been extensively referenced in tribute to Williams since his death in 2014.

Williams ultimately went on to win his Oscar for his supporting performance in Good Will Hunting.

Watch: Matt Damon reflects on missing out on Dead Poets Society

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