Public and Private: John Hawkes

Q: You've been acting for quite a few years now, do you feel in the past couple of years you've been getting more and more recognition especially with the awards nominations you've gotten for things like, "Winter's Bone" and "The Sessions"?

A: It's been really cool. It has led to more man-on-the-street recognition, which is not as pleasant. I don't mean to be a stick in the mud but I'm private and kind of shy. I also want to be a mystery to the world. There are so many actors I think who are terrific but I know so much about their personal lives that I can't buy into them playing characters always. I'll be watching a film and be thinking, wow, that movie star is doing a really incredible job pretending to be a cab driver. When I come on-screen, in a yellow car, I want people to go, "There's a cab driver," instead of, "That guy's got three chihuahuas and fights against hunger in Tahiti or something." Those are great things, both are not describing me personally by the way, but the less people know about me the better. Along with the recognition is kind of a trepidation or a nervousness about people knowing too much about me, and in the digital age it's getting harder and harder to maintain some sort of mystery about yourself so I try to avoid talk shows, as much as I like watching them, I don't want someone to rent a movie after seeing me on watching Jimmy Kimmel and have a different experience. It's always best when someone is like, "I think I know who that person is but I'm not really sure," and then they just forget and hopefully just believe you in the character.

–"Why You Shouldn't Say Hi to John Hawkes on the Street", Indiewire (October 24, 2014)

The ability to hide and to get lost and explore has been taken away a little bit in the digital social media age.