Ethan Green Hawke was born on November 6, 1970 in Austin, Texas, to Leslie Carole (Green), a charity worker, and James Steven Hawke, an insurance actuary. His parents were students at the University of Texas at the time but divorced when Ethan was 5 years old. His mother raised him alone for the next five years, moving around the country, until she remarried in 1981 and the family settled in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School and then transferred to the Hun School of Princeton and it was while he was there that he began taking acting classes at the McCarter Theatre on the Princeton campus. His early ambition had been to be a writer, but as a result of the acting lessons and appearances in student productions he persuaded his mother to allow him to attend an audition for a role in a sci-fi adolescent adventure, Explorers (1985). He got the part (along with River Phoenix) but although the movie was favourably reviewed, it met with little commercial success which discouraged Hawke from pursuing further movie roles for a few years. He was admitted to the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon University to study theatre but his studies were interrupted when he won his break-through role opposite Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989) and he didn’t complete his degree. His subsequent acting career was a mix of theatre work (earning a number of awards and nominations, including a Tony nomination for his role in The Coast of Utopia at the Lincoln Center in New York), and a mix of “serious” and more commercial movies, notably Gattaca (1997) (where he met his first wife, Uma Thurman) and Training Day (2001). Meanwhile, he also pursued his childhood ambition and has written two novels and several screenplays.