Ethan Hawke on Directing Daughter Maya’s Sex Scenes: ‘So Comfortable With It’

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The father and daughter duo recently spoke to Variety about working together on their film Wildcat. Ethan co-wrote and directed the film in which Maya stars as novelist Flannery O’Connor and portrays other characters from O’Connor’s stories, some of whom engage in sex scenes.

One of the scenes is a depiction of O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People,” where Hawke plays a young woman with a wooden leg who has sex with a Bible salesman (played by Cooper Hoffman) on the floor of a hayloft. In another scene, taken from the short story “Parker’s Back,” Hawke is felt up by a man (Rafael Casal) in the bed of his pickup truck.

When asked about directing his daughter in sex scenes, Ethan said “We were so comfortable with it. I couldn’t care less,” while adding he was more concerned about taking care of Maya’s scene partners Casal and Hoffman.

“We made sure to have an intimacy coordinator on set for them. So that they felt safe and comfortable and not like they were being spied on,” said Maya before being interrupted by her father. “… by some creepy dad,” Ethan said.

In the same interview, Ethan reflected on the night he infamously tried to flirt with Rihanna at a basketball game in 2015 after switching seats with his son Levon. Photographers on site captured the interaction and soon after it became a viral moment on social media. “That’s been the family shame. So you’re really touching a nerve,” Ethan said. “No, it’s family pride,” Maya retorted.

Wildcat recently premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. The low-budget film is one of the few independent projects allowed to do press due to a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement. Maya, who also stars in Stranger Things, was not able to discuss the upcoming fifth season of the hit series due to the ongoing strikes.