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Ethan Hawke on 'Boyhood' Children: "They Grow Up, and We Age"

"I remember I thought, 'Wow, I still look really good,' and then as the movie progresses, we go, 'Oh yeah, reality.' "

Ethan Hawke
Austin Hargrave
Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke stopped by Live! With Kelly and Michael on Monday morning to talk about the secret, 12-year process of filming Boyhood and watching himself age onscreen.

"We started, I guess, in 2001 when I was first approached about it, and the idea was to use time to tell the story," Hawke said, still out of breath after playing a quick game of hoops with host Michael Strahan. "In the first scene, I'm putting the boy in the car seat, and in the last scene, he's driving around to college."

Hawke noted that he first met director Richard Linklater during 1994's Before Sunrise and remembers when Lorelai Linklater — Hawke's onscreen daughter and Richard's real-life one — was born.

"I really got to know them over the decade," he said of filming, laughing about the scenes in which he'd have to warn her about safe sex. "The girl turns absolutely red! It's not really difficult acting those scenes. It's exciting and original."

"If they weren't such special young people, the movie would be a gimmick," Hawke added of onscreen son Ellar Coltrane. "What they share of themselves is really special."

As for his own performance opposite Patricia Arquette, "I remember I thought, 'Wow, I still look really good,' and then as the movie progresses, we go, 'Oh yeah, reality,' " he said laughing. "She said, 'They grow up, and we age!' … Not only do we age, but you also can see the positive manifestations of maturity — the characters anyway. Speaking of them, they learn how to be better parents. … Slowly the family heals over the course of time."

Boyhood is in theaters now. Watch a clip of Hawke and Strahan shooting hoops during his appearance below:

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee