In the first moments of the highly anticipated third season of Stranger Things, things already look different. For one, half of the scenes take place at the shiny new Starcourt Mall, where teens run off to spend their allowances on ’80s wares, movie tickets, and ice cream cones. But the mall isn’t the only new thing in town. Behind the counter at Scoops Ahoy is Hawkins newcomer Robin, the unaffected cool girl played by Maya Hawke. Her part in Stranger Things is nothing short of a breakout role for the budding 21-year-old actress. But this isn’t your typical Hollywood-starlet-rises-to-fame-out-of-nowhere narrative, because there’s one minor detail about Maya that differentiates her: She’s the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.
We may live in an age when having famous parents earns you the world without needing to lift a finger, but Hawke is out to make a name for herself as an actress. Since pulling herself out of Juilliard’s acting program in order to dive headfirst into a full-time career, she’s been trying on all sorts of roles for size—everything from period pieces (her on-screen debut was on BBC’s TV adaptation of Little Women) to Hollywood blockbusters (catch her as a member of the Manson crew in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) to her latest project, Ladyworld, an indie horror film out this month. Hawke is hungry to try it all.
Chatting with her, it’s not hard to see how her parents and their considerable careers rubbed off on Hawke. As we settled into a quiet corner on the set of our Who What Wear shoot in Los Angeles, she was all focus, delivering her replies in earnest but also peppering the conversation with bits of her dry humor. Post-shoot, she re-emerged in a relaxed checkered suit and retro sneakers, admitting that she’s currently embracing a ’70s English teacher aesthetic. (Trust me. It’s working for her.) If being on a Hollywood set is like “one big classroom,” as she told me, then it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that her parents and peers are her teachers, and school is officially in session.
What was it like joining the cast for season three of Stranger Things?
It was super overwhelming, but the minute I got there, everyone was really kind and welcoming and made me feel right at home. I expected it to be really scary, and I was scared, but everyone got rid of my nerves right away. They were so inclusive and collaborative.
Who did you feel closest to out of the cast?
Maybe Priah. I mean the whole Scoop Troop were my homies. They were amazing. So talented, so fun to work with. So they definitely were my closest people on set. And the Duffer Brothers, actually, are the people I really got the most personally close to throughout shooting it.
What was the most significant thing you learned from working on the set of Stranger Things?
I’d never done anything action before. I think I learned how to maneuver that kind of environment and how to sort of keep being yourself and keep acting through, you know, running away from Russians. Like how do you stay in character when you’re under attack? And so that was an interesting learning experience, but also it’s all about hours on set in terms of learning how to be a good film actor. Learning from costume, learning from camera, learning and asking questions. You know, it’s a big classroom if you let it be.
If season four is confirmed, what would you hope for Robin?
I have total faith in the Duffer Brothers, whatever they think is right. I hope she gets to explore the environment of the video store. I think that’s a really rich environment, and I hope that she just gets to keep growing as a person and developing.
Moving onto your upcoming movie, Ladyworld, what drew you to that script initially?
It just sounded really interesting and different. [The director] Amanda Kramer sent the script, which was rich and complicated and had beautiful scenes and ensemble moments. One thing as an actor I love is I love ensemble acting. I love a scene that has like 10 people in it, and we’re all moving through the space. I think that’s where some of the richest dynamics come into play.
She also wrote an amazing letter with the script about what she wanted to do with the movie and what she thought it meant. It was really inspiring to me. In the arts, I want to help people who are really passionate and creative actualize their dream in any way I can. So, you know, I was offered to be in that, and she had a clear passionate dream, and I wanted to make it come true. If she wanted me there, I wanted to be there.
You’ve been in a variety of projects, both TV and film, both indie and more blockbuster. Is there a type of role that excites you most, or are you kind of testing it all out?
I just want to work with people who love what they do. I want to work on projects that are being made for a reason and being made by people who are passionate about them because that’s the only way to make anything good, is if everyone involved with it loves it. Continue reading
Yesterday Maya was on Live with Kelly & Ryan – her first talk show appearance ever! Check out the full interview below! The gallery has also been updated with captures of her from the interview.
0158 x Interviews & Other Screen Captures > 2019 > Live with Kelly & Ryan – 07.29.19
The gallery has been updated with a bunch of gorgeous pictures of Maya at the “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” Los Angeles Premiere.
0133 x Public Appearances > 2019 > “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” Los Angeles Premiere – 07.22.19