Sundance: Ethan Hawke Owes 'Dead Poets Society' Role to a Sony Walkman

"All I did was blast 'My Aim Is True' by Elvis Costello," he says of a 1988 screen test for the film.

Ethan Hawke owes his breakout performance in Dead Poets Society to a piece of 1980s technology and music icon Elvis Costello.

See more The Scene at Sundance Film Festival 2015

"You know when you're going in before an audition, and you're just sitting in a room with all these other chumps? I was trying to zone them out, and I had a Walkman," says Hawke. "It was probably 1988, and all I did was blast 'My Aim Is True' by Elvis Costello. Before my screen test for Dead Poets Society."

Whatever that did to get him in the zone worked. Hawke has said people approach him about the 1989 film to this day.

See more Next Gen at Sundance: Inside The Party With Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch

Hawke made his comments during a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter and his Ten Thousand Saints costars Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch and Avan Jogia and co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Check out what he and the fest's other stars are saying with THR's full coverage below.