Ethan Hawke Says Daughter Maya Won't Reveal “Stranger Things” Spoilers: 'She Thinks I've Got a Big Mouth' (Exclusive)

The actor, who recently directed his daughter Maya in the movie 'Wildcat,' says he 'geeks out' when he sees her in 'Stranger Things'

<p>Michael Campanella/Getty Images</p> Ethan Hawke and Maya Hawke pose on the red carpet during a ceremony for the Stockholm Film Festival

Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Ethan Hawke and Maya Hawke pose on the red carpet during a ceremony for the Stockholm Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award 2023

Ethan Hawke may be an incredibly accomplished actor, director and writer, but at the end of the day, he's also just a proud dad.

The father of four recently directed his oldest daughter Maya, 25, in the feature film Wildcat (in theaters on May 3) and despite having "tremendous respect for her talents," Ethan, 52, says he had to make sure he didn't fawn over her acting while he was wearing his director's hat.

"I worried I would fail her if I did that," he tells PEOPLE, of making sure they were highly professional on set.

"We had so many amazing collaborators, and all these very serious artists that were there to try to make a serious work. They weren't there for it to be cute or for us to make a home movie."

Related: Ethan Hawke and Daughter Maya Proudly Debut Their First Movie Together in New York City

However, when he's watching Maya play Robin Buckley in Stranger Things? It's a totally different story.

"I can be proud of her and geek out with so much joy when I watch Stranger Things," he says. "But when I'm directing her, I have a job to do which is to make sure we accomplish that goal."

Netflix Maya Hawke, Joe Keery and Joseph Quinn in Stranger Things
Netflix Maya Hawke, Joe Keery and Joseph Quinn in Stranger Things

He notes that Maya is currently filming the new season of the hit Netflix show down in Georgia, but despite his best efforts, she won't reveal any spoilers.

Related: Stranger Things Stars Reunite to Begin Production on Long-Awaited Final Season

"I nudge her for them and she won't give them up!" he says with a laugh. "She says, 'You've got a big mouth.' So nope, not even to dear old dad."

Wildcat, which is about the life and work or short-story writer Flannery O'Connor, was the brainchild of Maya, who was turned on to the author's work while still in high school. She then acquired the rights to the stories, but Ethan said they both knew that bringing O'Connor's life to the big screen wasn't going to be easy.

"Those were some of our secret midnight conversations, like, 'How could we make a movie about this?' Not just make a movie about Flannery O'Connor, but about the way in which she lived her life, and the intersection between creativity and imagination and how that intersects with faith and reality," he says.

<p>Courtesy of Oscilloscope</p> Wildcat

Courtesy of Oscilloscope


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He continues, "Maya wanted to make a movie about a fiery young woman who's complicated. The world is full of movies about complicated men and their relationship to their work. She had this idea to make a movie about a young woman's own relationship to herself and her work."

"She was like, I see all these movies with Gene Hackman and Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman, and all these things you keep telling me are so great. I want to play a screwed up person too."

He adds, "I thought that sounded like a great idea!"

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