Maya Hawke: Why ‘Stranger Things’ Robin Almost Didn’t Pursue Acting

It’s refreshing to realize a child of a famous acting couple might have had some trepidation about going into acting, despite being an easy sell in movies and TV. Many offspring of iconic actors dive right in without hesitation, sometimes with enough confidence to best the careers of their parents.

Maya Hawke might not sound like a familiar name — yet — but she’s the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. She just made her mainstream debut on Stranger Things playing Robin, despite first playing Jo March in a BBC adaptation of Little Women two years ago.

With numerous other projects soon to release, stardom is on the horizon. However, she did have some reluctance about acting at first, with some real-life lessons learned on-set.

When did May Hawke decide acting was for her?

Maya Hawke
Maya Hawke | Getty Images

Maya Hawke is still so young, you only have to go back a few years to see when acting captured her interest. She wasn’t sure at first, even though she’d spent time on movie sets with her parents, plus intense involvement with her school’s theater department.

The good news is apparently her mom and dad didn’t push her to become an actress like some Hollywood parents. In this case, it appears Ethan Hawke and Thurman disregarded any form of nepotism and gave their daughter complete freedom to make up her own mind about acting.

There was a brief time when Maya Hawke thought she’d go first for an English degree in college. As she points out in a recent interview, though, she discovered a lot of joy when doing the acting. After a while, she realized she was having more fun when on stage than when doing academic studying.

Just about every other actor or actress likely had a similar trajectory in finding their way.

Maya Hawke realized acting on TV and in movies is different

Acting on a stage is very different from acting on the set of a film. Those who plunge into making a movie or filming a TV show start to realize the insane hours involved, not including a lot of waiting around.

Hawke realized the crazy hours when making her debut in Little Women, which debuted here in the states on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. With 16-hour days involved, including waking up early in the morning, she found out the realities of filming. Nevertheless, she said she understood this kind of life and relished it while briefly attending Julliard.

Having this understanding of the time element involved already clears one major hurdle in happily carving an acting career. Of course, filming an entire season of Stranger Things took the most time. The Duffer Brothers happily made things easier by letting Maya’s own personality become a part of Robin.

Making this acting career all the more comfortable is the news that her parents gave her 100% of their support through each step. They also reportedly don’t “B.S.” her about what she’s doing right or wrong.

Maya Hawke had family support to pursue her dreams

We’ve seen far too many stories of famous actors and actresses who didn’t have proper parental support growing up, or when going into the acting field. Many of those stories are also tragic in their outcomes.

Outside of acting offspring often becoming stars in their own right in Hollywood, the adamant support from Hawke’s parents will help her navigate any future challenges.

She already has several high-profile films on the horizon, including one directed by Gia Coppola. Superstardom could be calling soon, but at least we’ll know she wasn’t pushed into it like falling into a volcano.

Knowing her parents will always have her back means Hawke probably won’t bow out early to obtain a degree in poetry or agriculture, as she’s said she would as an alternative.