01 Waiting to ask Sir Kenneth a question compressed

The Hollywood Masters: Season 3

A new season of The Hollywood Masters began last month, moderated again by The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway. First to come to LMU was one of my personal favorite actors, Ethan Hawke, followed by producer Gale Anne Hurd of The Walking Dead and Terminator trilogy, Sir Kenneth Branagh, and this week Sean Penn was our guest. Next week Clint Eastwood (!!!) is stopping by and the season will end with a flourish, with visits from Ken Burns and Quincy Jones.

This program series is just one of the incredible experiences that I’ve enjoyed while being a film student at LMU. From an acting standpoint, Ethan Hawke has had the kind of career and taken on roles that I can relate to, particularly his work in director Michael Almereyda’s two Shakespeare adaptions of Hamlet and the new Cymbeline.

Speaking of Shakespeare, it was a real thrill to have Sir Kenneth Branagh as a guest. I was eager to ask him what he thought of all the films that adapted Shakespeare plays updated into the present day. Shockingly he said no one had ever offered him the chance to be in such a film, but that he liked the idea of modernizing the plays and felt that it kept them fresh and relevant to audiences. Personally, it’s always been a dream of mine to make a Macbeth set in the modern day, and I learned from Branagh that it’s bad luck to say “Macbeth” in a theater. Instead, you’re supposed to refer to it as The Scottish Play and to the character by some mutually agreed upon name like “Pat.”

Then last week, Sean Penn came to LMU. I think he is, without a doubt, one of the finest actors of our time. He’s been nominated for five Academy Awards as Best Actor, winning the Oscar twice (Milk and Mystic River). He talked about his long career which started as a teenager actor (with high school classmates Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez) and now includes directing, something he’s most interested in doing much more of.

Check out the clips below …

Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke talks about Denzel Washington and Training Day


Ethan Hawke talks about making Boyhood

Gale Anne Hurd

Producer Gale Anne Hurd discusses The Walking Dead

Sir Kenneth Branagh

Sir Kenneth Branagh talks about the Marvel universe

Sean Penn

Sean Penn talks about his performance in Dead Man Walking and his encounter with The Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez

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