I’m not going to lie. I love Ethan Hawke. So much. A ridiculous amount. It was for that reason that I decided to check out Adopt a Highway because I would say about 95% of the time, Ethan Hawke doesn’t pick bad films. This one is another winner. Logan Marshall-Green, who most of us know from in front of the camera in films such as The Invitation and Upgrade among many other great films, directs Hawke in a nuanced, heart-warming performance as Russell Millings, a man who’s been in prison for twenty years. Millings is not a hardened criminal. He just so happened to be on the wrong end of the “Three Strikes You’re Out” policy that Bill Clinton implemented in the ’90s. Millings got caught with an ounce of weed, and since it was his first offense, he was off to prison for a long time. We meet Millings on his first day out of jail and see him learn to be his own person again.
I was happy to talk to Marshall-Green about his quietly effective directorial debut. Of course, I asked more than one question about Ethan Hawke, but I promise we talked about more than that, which you can read all about as follows:
I wanted to know where did the inspiration come from for Adopt a Highway? Is any of it come from on your own life experiences? Obviously you weren’t in prison, but anything else?
Logan Marshall-Green: Well, almost (re prison). I was lucky. I had a great mom. I have one answer, and it will really tick all those boxes. It relates directly to my experience as a new father. How lost I felt, how little I knew what to do with my daughter. I became a father almost overnight, and I was so in love yet felt so lost. Yet, I had a sense of purpose. My work became more colorful and more dutiful, so I could survive, and that’s really where I began. I began with myself, and also I wrote the thing so I could go make my other films which cost a little bit more money.
“I became a father almost overnight, and I was so in love yet felt so lost.”
I’m wondering if you’ve always wanted to direct as well as act, or was it something that came to you through acting over the years?
My interest in directing film came out of my own career in film as an actor, but, that said, I came from a family of theater directors. Both my mom and dad are directors–good ones in their own right. So it’s kind of in the blood. I’ve directed for stage before, and in fact, I’m kind of starting to read a few plays at the moment to see if I might make a return to the stage as a director. All that said, I’ve spent the last twenty years living on set and not living in a trailer, and shadowing every department I could, watching them. I’m just super interested in the art of filmmaking. So it was only a matter of time for my team to say, “It’s time for you to get behind a camera,” and sure enough, here we go.