Ethan Hawke Announces Paul Newman Documentary

by Courtney Blackann
(Photo by Cara Robbins/Contour by Getty Images)

Stepping back into the Golden Age of Hollywood to document the life and times of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, actor/director Ethan Hawke announces a six-part series with CNN Plus and HBO Max. Hawke will notably direct, while famed director Martin Scorsese will executive produce what will become “The Last Movie Stars.”

The project is a culmination of interviews, recordings, and research conducted by Hawke after the famous Hollywood duo’s daughter reached out to him. After digging into the past, Hawke says he wanted to tell the story of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward – as well as their impact on cinema and the world.

“Exploring Woodward and Newman through their 50-year love affair has proven more rewarding than I could have imagined. Their work, philanthropy, and lives serve as a kind of North Star, illuminating what a substantive, meaningful life can look like,” said Hawke, via Variety.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward Early Work

As staunch icons of the 1950s, both Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman captivated the world. They both earned acclaim through their honest and nuanced performances. Newman studied theater and honed his craft through education, both at Kenyon College and Yale University. Despite his fame, he relied on his principles and always stuck to them. This was true with both his family and career up until his death in 2008.

On the same wavelength, Joanne Woodward’s talent onscreen was unmatched for her time. She delighted audiences while also staying grounded in her values. Together, the two have numerous Oscar nominations and wins in addition to a plethora of other awards.

The two actors often worked together before and during their marriage. They are known for their commitment to the role as well as their versatility with character portrayal. While Newman passed away over a decade ago, Woodward is the lone remaining ‘Golden Age’ Oscar winner for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Ethan Hawke Enlists A-list Actors for Project

Ethan Hawke will attempt to not only catalog their Hollywood successes but their philanthropic mission. Paul Newman founded ‘Newman’s Own’ – a salad dressing brand that donates all proceeds to charity. Today, it has raised more than $570 million.

For his project, Hawke will use actors Laura Linney, Sam Rockwell, George Clooney, and other notable performers to voice original transcripts of Newman and Woodward interviews.

“Ethan’s brilliant vision illuminates what fascinates us about Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman in a film worthy of their talents and passions,” said Amy Entelis, executive VP for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.“We look forward to sharing this unique, multi-chapter story with CNN Plus subscribers.”

The limited series will air exclusively on CNN Plus, the news company’s subscription service. However, it will also be available later on HBO Max.