Maya Hawke on the importance of chaos

Last year, She plays American novelist Flannery O’Connor in the film Wild cat, directed by her father, Ethan Hawke. While researching the role, she unexpectedly read a passage about O’Connor fighting her guardian angel. It helped inspire the concept of Chaos angel, a character created by Hawke, to humanize and help heal her inner monologue. “We all have that voice, but something can happen when that voice gets sick, something bad can happen to you,” Hawke said. “You can go through something difficult and suddenly your guardian angel, your inner voice, is no longer trustworthy and they lead you astray and give you strange advice. ” Hawke mythologizes that this flawed narrator, her angel of chaos, is having just as much trouble navigating life as she is; that despite her best intentions, she is paving the way for destruction in pursuit of love. “She was raised to be this perfect love angel,” she explains. “Then she entered the world and it was hard to make love. She must realize that the chaotic process is what creates change and change creates love.”

Hawke has a wonderful interpretation of the legend behind the album’s protagonist, turning it into a fairy tale or an ancient fable. But it’s actually much more personal, partly drawn from an experience she had as a child, dealing with bouts of depression. On the record’s opener, “Black Ice,” Hawke samples a recording she found on her mother by Uma Thurman computer about a healing session she had with “three witchy ladies.” A strange but gentle voice rang out over the music, whispering to 11-year-old Hawke: “You have become an angel in human form. Does it make sense for us to put it that way?” It became a core memory for her, one that she struggled with for years afterward. “I was almost like how dare you tell me that that’s my job in life, that my spirit has come down to this planet to make other people feel better,” Hawke recalls. “I carried that burden for many years as a child and thought it was my job to make people happy.” Finally, the song transitions into a hypnotic repetition of the mantra, “Give up / Be loved.” “I’m trying to figure out how to take what you have as a child and use it as an adult in a good way,” Hawke said.

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Maya Hawke attended the film screening Wild cat at the Angelika Film Center on April 11, 2024 in New York City.

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