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Hawke flirted with acting at age 14, when he scored a top-billed role in 1985’s Explorers alongside River Phoenix. The film was a box office disappointment, prompting the then-15-year-old to take a hiatus from showbiz. He came back with a bang five years later, breaking out in Dead Poets Society — a film he still credits as one of his favorites and most formative. More than 20 years later, he’s shown his versatility by moving past a phase as the face of Gen X (thanks to 1994’s Reality Bites), creating a beloved indie franchise for himself starting with 1995’s Before Sunrise, scoring two Oscar nominations (Best Supporting Actor in 2002 for Training Day and Best Adapted Screenplay in 2005 for Before Sunset), and carving out an unexpected niche for himself as the headliner in low-budget, high-impact horror movies Sinister and The Purge. —Lanford Beard
Image Credit: Everett Collection; John Lamparski/WireImage
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