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Ethan Hawke Added One Surprising Aspect To The Black Phone’s Grabber-TGN


  • Director Scott Derrickson reveals that Ethan Hawke’s character in The Black Phone, The Grabber, was not initially planned to be “jacked,” but Hawke showed up in great physical shape for the role.
  • Hawke had hesitations about playing a villainous character but ultimately embraced the role after reading the script and sending Derrickson a voicemail in his creepy Grabber voice.
  • The success of The Black Phone has sparked discussions for a possible sequel, leaving fans wondering if The Grabber will make a return, but Hawke’s performance as the iconic horror villain is highly memorable.



Director Scott Derrickson revealed the origins behind one surprising aspect of Ethan Hawke’s character in The Black Phone, The Grabber. Known for his successful contributions to the horror genre, such as Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Derrickson once again teamed up with screenwriter C. Robert Cargill to immerse audiences in the terrifying world of The Black Phone. The Black Phone received a very warm welcome at the box office, earning $161 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo).

The 1970s inspired flick sees Hawke star as the serial killer The Grabber, alongside a stand-out young cast including Mason Thames as The Black Phone‘s lead, Finney Shaw. The film follows Finney as he attempts to escape The Grabber’s basement, whereby he is able to contact the spirits of the killer’s previous victims through a disconnected phone mounted to the wall. Reviews for The Black Phone were been unanimous in their praise for Hawke’s performance as The Grabber, and Derrickson opened up about one particular aspect of the horrifying character that was entirely created by Hawke.

RELATED: The Black Phone Ending Explained (In Detail)

Ethan Hawke Was “Jacked” In The Black Phone

The Grabber sitting shirtless in a dark room in The Black Phone.

During a recent interview with CBR, Derrickson discussed his creative process behind The Black Phone and revealed the origins of one surprising aspect of The Grabber. When asked how Derrickson talked Hawke into taking on the role of the “jacked” serial killer, the director revealed that he didn’t ask Hawke to bulk up for the part. Derrickson also shared how Hawke suggested including a moment in the film where he would have his shirt off given his impressive physical fitness. Check out Derrickson’s full quote below.

“I didn’t ask for him to be jacked — he showed up that way! He shaped up that way, and I was like, “Dude, you’re in really good shape!” and he said, “Yeah, I don’t know if there’s any place where you need me to have my shirt off, but if you do, I can.” I was like, “As a matter of fact, when we see you with the belt in the kitchen, you should have your shirt off.” It was great, and I think he got that way for The Northman, which he had just shot.”

Hawke Almost Didn’t Play The Grabber Because He’s A Villain

Ethan Hawke in The Black Phone movie wearing a mask and brandishing an axe

Interestingly, despite Hawke’s eagerness to bring his new physicality to the role, Derrickson has previously revealed that the actor had some initial hesitations about playing the Grabber. Hawke said that he doesn’t gravitate towards villainous characters, but that upon reading the script, Hawke sent Derrickson a voicemail in his creepy Grabber voice, confirming his involvement with the film. Ultimately, the villain’s physical size proved a major element of the Grabber’s threatening persona, so Hawke’s efforts paid off. With The Black Phone having enjoyed such enormous success at the box office, discussions have quickly progressed to the possibility of a sequel, though The Black Phone 2 is not yet confirmed.

The kitchen scene that Derrickson mentioned is one of the more heart-pounding sequences within The Black Phone, and it’s certainly interesting to hear that Hawke’s impressive physique was not initially planned for it. With The Black Phone having ended with the satisfying death of Hawke’s killer, sequel discussions have left many wondering whether there will be a place for The Grabber to return should a sequel get the green light. However, it’s fair to say that the Ethan Hawke performance in The Black Phone is certainly one to remember, with the Grabber now among the canon of iconic horror villains.

Source: CBR

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