Ethan Hawke visits the studio to talk about his portrayal of the talented, addicted, and tormented jazz icon, Chet Baker, in the new film “Born to Be Blue.” The film, from writer-director Robert Boudreau, mixes fact and fiction, focusing in on a Chet Baker in his 40s, who attempts to stage a comeback and kick his heroin habit.
Hawke took both trumpet and singing lessons for the part, and insists that he was at his best when he made playing the trumpet sound really hard, as a Chet Baker who had to take great pains to get back to his former level. Far from moralizing Baker’s struggle as the jazz musician junkie to get clean and overcome, the film opens with Baker locked in a jail cell in Italy, depicts a drug deal gone wrong in which Baker's teeth get knocked out, altering his embouchure, and other lows. Hawke exudes the vulnerability and fragility of the question of “can Chet even get through the song?”
As Hawke relates, Baker himself knew he was no musical revolutionary like Miles Da