Maya Hawke Describes Her Famous Family as the "Boring, Indie Kardashians"
Maya Hawke's portrayal of Robin Buckley, the quirky Hawkins teen who befriends Steve Harrington in the third season of "Stranger Things," quickly made her a fan favorite. As it turns out, Maya's foray into the Upside Down wasn't her intro to Hollywood, though; she's been around red carpet royalty her entire life. The 25-year-old actor is the child of two major stars, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.
Thurman is best known for her roles as Mia in "Pulp Fiction" and The Bride in "Kill Bill: Volume 1" and "Kill Bill: Volume 2." Ethan is known for playing Jesse in the Before trilogy and starred in the June 2022 horror film "The Black Phone." The pair met on the set of "Gattaca" in 1996 and married in 1998. They had two children, Maya and Levon Hawke, before separating in 2003 and divorcing in 2005. Ethan later married Ryan Shawhughes, and the pair went on to have two daughters, Clementine Jane Hawke and Indiana Hawke. Thurman has one other child, daughter Luna, with ex-fiancé Arpad Busson.
Maya is well-aware of the fact that she comes from an extremely famous family. In a Sept. 5 interview with Variety that also featured her father, she described her family as "the boring, indie Kardashians" — which would probably be more accurate if her parents were indie darlings, not Hollywood superstars. Later on, Ethan acknowledged the fact he's part of a growing dynasty. "Put simply, I'm a nepo dad!" he said. "And I'm not embarrassed about it."
In the interview, the pair were promoting their biopic "Wildcat," which stars Maya as the writer Flannery O'Connor. Ethan directed the movie and wrote the script along with Shelby Gaines, though in the interview, he confirmed that the movie was all his daughter's idea. As for why she asked her dad to make the movie alongside her, Maya said, "I don't know anyone else that interested in art, faith and America."
Still, it sounds like her nepo baby status sometimes worried her while they were making the film. "I had moments of insecurity about it while we were shooting the movie," she said. "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." Later, Ethan said that while some people discouraged him from working on the movie with his daughter, he saw no reason to be. "I started thinking, 'What am I not seeing? What am I missing?'" he said. "But this is our safe place . . ."
Though her parents seem fully invested in her career now, apparently Maya's they parents initially discouraged her from pursuing acting. "They were wary of the public life side of acting and the difficulties of that," she told The Guardian in 2021. "They also tried to protect me from falling into acting. They wanted to ensure I had a strong enough backbone, my own passion for it and work ethic. They didn't want to cart me along every red carpet or have me do bit-parts in their movies."
Still, her dad knew she'd been bitten by the acting bug from a young age. In the Variety interview, he revealed that his daughter's future became clear to him happened during a dress rehearsal of William Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," which he'd brought Maya to because she didn't have a babysitter. When she wanted to stay and watch the three-hour show all over again after the first run-through, Hawke knew. "Maya was like, 'Can I please watch it again?'" Ethan said. "It's a three-hour play. It's Shakespeare. I went, 'Wow. It's on.' If you want to watch a Shakespeare play dress rehearsal two times in a row when you are 12 . . ."
Needless today, his prediction was correct. Maya went on to star as Jo March in the 2017 BBC adaption of "Little Women." In 2019, she played Manson family member Linda Kasabian in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," and tat same year, she made her debut in "Stranger Things." Regardless of their initial reservations, parents Ethan and Thurman have since supported their daughter's acting endeavors. "Ladies & Gentleman, get to know MAYA HAWKE. She's the real thing," Ethan wrote in 2019 in an Instagram post about his daughter's "Stranger Things" debut.
Meanwhile, Thurman sang her daughter's praises in an Access Hollywood interview in February 2021. "She's, in the end, such a brilliant actress. Obviously, there's nothing else that she would have ever done," she said. "Her talent was so big. It's what she had to do."
Maya mentioned her mother on her June 28, 2022 episode of "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon," where she told the host that Thurman's abortion made it possible for her to exist. "My mom wrote this really beautiful essay about her abortion that she got when she was really young and about how if she hadn't had it, she wouldn't have become the person that she had become, and I wouldn't exist," Maya said. "Both of my parents' lives would have been derailed if she hadn't have had access to safe and legal healthcare — fundamental healthcare." Thurman published an essay about the abortion she had as a teenager in the Washington Post in September 2021.
During an Aug. 11 appearance on "Live With Kelly and Ryan," Maya spoke about how much she loves acting alongside her parents, as she's set to star in a number of future projects with both of them. "My dad brought me in to play his daughter, Annie Brown, on this TV show he did called 'The Good Lord Bird' . . . this past year, my mom had me come in and play a two-scene part in this movie that she's doing where we got to yell at each other," Maya said. "It was really, really fun. I love working with both of them. They're really awesome, and they're just amazing at their job."
While Maya may be super close to her parents today, that doesn't mean they haven't had their ups and downs like any other family. During a June 20 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live," Maya admitted to host Andy Cohen that she once lied to Ethan about something major. "I lied about where [I was going]," Maya said. Considering where she was really going, it's understandable why she lied. "I said that I was going to therapy, and I really went to lose my virginity," she said.
When Ethan pressed her to tell him where she was, Maya had a retort that's truly one for the books. "I said, 'How am I supposed to have secrets if I'm not allowed to tell lies?'" Maya recounted. Something tells us that line won't work on most parents.
Ahead, check out photos of the star and her celebrity parents.
Who Is Maya Hawke's Dad? Ethan Hawke
Ethan made his feature film debut in 1985 with the movie "Explorers," and his breakthrough role was in 1989's "Dead Poets Society." He went on to star in many famous movies, including the film "Before Sunrise" and its two sequels. He has also appeared in many stage plays, and made his directorial debut with the 2002 movie "Chelsea Walls." Additional credits include "Sinister," "Boyhood," "Waking Life," and many more.
Who Is Maya Hawke's Mom? Uma Thurman
Thurman rose to prominence thanks to her starring role as Mia Wallace in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 classic "Pulp Fiction," and has appeared in many movies and TV shows over the years, including Tarantino's "Kill Bill." She has also appeared in the films "Batman & Robin," "Les Misérables," "Tape," and "Hysterical Blindness," which netted her a Golden Globe Award. In July, she appeared as fictional US president Ellen Claremont in the film "Red White & Royal Blue."