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Ethan Hawke on Flannery O’Connor’s Christian Imagination

Novelist and short story writer Flannery O’Connor once said her life was too boring for a biographer—all she did was write and feed chickens. And yet, nearly 100 years after she was born, O’Connor’s life and faith are explored in Wildcat, a new film from actor, writer, and director Ethan Hawke of Training Day, First Reformed, and Dead Poets Society fame.

On this episode of The Russell Moore Show, Hawke and Moore discuss what compelled Hawke to cowrite Wildcat with Shelby Gaines. They talk about how O’Connor’s work connected Hawke to his mother and, later, to his daughter Maya, who plays O’Connor in the film.

Moore and Hawke explore O’Connor’s forcefulness and faith. They discuss the joys and challenges of working with family, how audiences are engaging with the religious elements in Wildcat, and Hawke’s attraction to exploring issues of faith in art. And they talk about the meaning of creative work, institutions, and relationships in a fraught era.

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

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“The Russell Moore Show” is a production of Christianity Today

Executive Producers: Erik Petrik, Russell Moore, and Mike Cosper

Host: Russell Moore

Producer: Ashley Hales

Associate Producers: Abby Perry and McKenzie Hill

Director of Operations for CT Media: Matt Stevens

Audio engineering by Dan Phelps

Video producer: Abby Egan

Theme Song: “Dusty Delta Day” by Lennon Hutton

Only when we see how lost we are, we can find our way again. Only when we bury what’s dead can we experience life again. Only when we lose our religion can we be amazed by grace again.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Editor in Chief of Christianity Today and is the author of the forthcoming book Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America (Penguin Random House).