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Ethan Hawke on his failed attempt to flirt with Rihanna: ‘That’s been to the family shame’

The actor’s daughter Maya Hawke clarified that for her, “it’s family pride.”

Ethan Hawke had love on the brain when he made his son Levon switch seats with him so he could talk to Rihanna at a basketball game — and now, the actor has finally broken his silence on the incident.

In an interview with Variety alongside daughter Maya Hawke, the actor-director discussed his awkward encounter with the pop superstar at the 2015 NBA All-Star game, revealing his advances weren’t particularly successful. “I’ve been caught by the paparazzi openly flirting with Rihanna,” Ethan Hawke said. “Trying to,” Maya corrected. “Trying to flirt,” Ethan accepted. “So that’s been to the family shame, so you’re really touching a nerve.” 

“No, it’s family pride,” Maya said. 

The pair was promoting their new project Wildcat, which stars Maya as author Flannery O’Connor and the elder Hawke directs. “I had moments of insecurity about it while we were shooting the movie,” Maya revealed of her initial apprehension toward the project. “But the internet doesn’t have a lot of nuances. My dad has been a massive teacher for me, and we want to work together. We like being with each other.”

Variety’s interviewers also asked the Hawkes if Ethan would prefer to go to a Rihanna concert or a Lady Gaga concert. Maya immediately responded that her dad would choose Rihanna, though the actor himself said “both.” “I have been to a Lady Gaga concert and I haven’t been to a RiRi concert… I took you to Lady Gaga,” he said to Maya. 

“Yeah, you did,” she responded. After a long pause, she corrected herself. “No you didn’t!”

Ethan Hawke and Rihanna

Ethan Hawke and Rihanna

| Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; David Becker/Getty

“Oh no, we went to see Madonna, and we [were] sitting next to Lady Gaga,” Ethan remembered. The Hawkes then clarified that they haven’t seen Lady Gaga, but she’s on their concert wish list.

“We did have an amazing year where we went to Madonna, Taylor [Swift], and Adele, and it was a highly educational, very motivational year for me,” Maya said. “It was some very good fathering. Well, we gotta go see Rihanna next.”

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