Actor in ‘Boyhood’ film grew up in Summerville

  • Thursday, August 7, 2014

Provided Brad Hawkins

When Brad Hawkins thinks of Summerville he loves recalling the times spent playing football and baseball at Doty Field.

He thinks about the times he attended Alston Middle School, and how he could walk to school from his house on Palmetto Street.

He remembers playing junior varsity football at Summerville High School, with John McKissick as his coach. At the time Hawkins went by the name Dana Wroblski – but his last name was hard to pronounce so his nickname was “Hotrod.”

He also remembers close bonds he formed with his football buddies and grabbing early-morning breakfasts in town before going to school.

Growing up Hawkins split his time between Summerville, where his mom lived, and Dallas, Texas, where his dad lived. Hawkins would alternate his living situations up until about 1991, when he was a rising junior in high school and decided to move to Dallas after his mother passed away.

“I remember seeing Summerville in my rearview mirror,” he said. “It was hard. Summerville is my heart.”

Hawkins would go on to attend Plano Senior High in Dallas and started an acting career in 1994 with the lead role in the children’s television series “V.R. Troopers.” He adopted “Brad Hawkins” as his stage name.

As of today Hawkins has appeared in more than 30 television shows and has toured the nation as a country recording artist. His most recent venture is appearing alongside Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette in this year’s film “Boyhood,” due in South Carolina theaters sometime this fall.

His recent film casts Hawkins as Arquette’s character’s second husband Jim, who has returned from the war in Iraq and is battling some inner demons, tackling depression and drinking.

“Ethan Hawke was very cool,” he said. “We only had one scene together but he is a very fun, relaxed, easy-going actor.

I look up to these guys,” Hawkins said about the actors he has filmed with. “I have the ability to not get starstuck – I respect them. Whenever the camera rolls, it’s business. When they’re off I’m like, ‘Hey, can I get a picture with you?’”

Hawkins said what makes “Boyhood” unique is it took 12 years to shoot. Director Richard Linklater wanted to record the then-6-year-old Ellar Coltrane as he grew up. Hawkins joined production five years ago.

The movie was released in only 34 theaters when it first came out. One hundred theaters are being added per week, and it should appear in most markets this month. Hawkins said the movie has already received positive reviews from media such as “Rolling Stone” and “The Los Angeles Times,” and there has been talk of the movie getting Oscar recognition.

“’Boyhood’ was very special,” Hawkins said. “This is going to be a special project for a long time.”

Hawkins is also known for starring as Tyler Hart in the CBS miniseries “Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story.” He has made guest appearances on “Step by Step” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

In 1996 he started a three-year hiatus from acting to pursue music, signing a recording contract with Curb/Universal Records in Nashville. He has opened for artists including Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and The Dixie Chicks.

“I’d really like to get out and play a little more,” Hawkins said. “I’ve really grown to love being on camera and acting. I love the process, I love the commitment it takes. But it is a major difference from being on stage. It’s that immediate gratification you get from playing in front of a crowd – that can’t be recreated on a sound stage. There’s nothing like standing up at the end of a song and everybody is clapping.”

Right now Hawkins is running a steakhouse restaurant called Table & Tavern near Dallas. He is constructing another restaurant called Chop Shop, a mechanic-themed sports restaurant.

Hawkins said he likes “to be in motion,” and enjoys the hospitality industry in between acting seasons.

“I love creating menus and food,” he said. “That’s more my retirement plan – to have some restaurants at the end of it all.

“You got to bet on something that will hopefully be there at the end of the day if acting and music is not as prevalent,” he said. “I love restaurants and I think I can do really well with that.”

Hawkins said he is due for a trip to Summerville to visit his grandfather sometimes soon.

“I don’t have memories like I do Summerville memories,” he said.

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