Keeping Austin Outlaw with Ethan Hawke
“When people say ‘Keep It Weird,’ what they really mean is ‘Keep Blaze Foley Alive.’ Keep that outlaw energy alive!” As Ethan Hawke’s words illustrate, he is ready to bring his movie about outlaw country legend Blaze Foley to Austin, a city that is central to the stories of both the musician and the man trying to put his legacy on the big screen.
For Hawke, this is a story that goes all the way back to his childhood in Austin. “We’re all kind of drawn to the time period of our childhood,” he explains. “For me, the late ’70s and early ’80s is where my memories begin.” Born in Austin in 1970, Hawke recalls his father being deep into the outlaw country scene of the time. “Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard and Guy Clark. All that stuff was on the turntable in my house growing up.”
When it comes to sharing the story of Blaze Foley, an artist who inspired many others on the outlaw country scene, it’s as much about capturing that spirit as anything else. “It’s not often talked about, but there is a southern bohemia,” says the writer-director. “There’s a radical southerner. A progressive, free-thinking, blue-collar rural man and woman. Part of my idea for this movie is to reclaim that flag of bohemia and wave it. The south is not owned by one way of thinking. It’s the same flag Willie Nelson has been waving for 50 years.”