In one version of the world, Ethan Hawke and Owen Wilson could have had nearly identical careers.
Both Texas-born and vets of the Austin indie filmmaking scene of the mid-90s, the two actors have since floated through independent, art house, and mainstream projects to varying degrees of success. Hawke, for the most part, stayed indie while Wilson went big. They are the story of Generation-X: Former malcontents grasping for authenticity and fame in an industry that is designed to make those dual aspirations somewhat impossible.
When observed as a series of choices beginning in 1994, the careers of Hawke and Wilson represent a case study of the ever-present tension between Hollywood, independent films, paychecks and prestige, culminating in this bizarre June 2013 weekend where Hawke’s modest $3 million horror film The Purge slayed Wilson’s glossy, “sure-bet” $58 million comedy, The Internship.
So, what happened?