Maya Hawke Brings Up The Nepo Baby Debate Herself When Admitting Why She Got Cast By Quentin Tarantino After Mom's Kill Bill Run

 Maya Hawke looking forward during an interview on CBS Sunday Morning.
Maya Hawke looking forward during an interview on CBS Sunday Morning.

These days, Maya Hawke is likely more known for her role in the megahit project Stranger Things than for being the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. However, it’s not lost on the public or the actress that she is part of the nepo baby debate, considering the A-list status of both her parents. With all that in mind, she recently opened up about how her mom’s relationship with Quentin Tarantino probably helped her land a role in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

While some call the nepo baby debate “lame,” like Dakota Johnson did, or get defensive when the topic of nepotism is brought up, Maya Hawke took a different position. In an interview with The Times of London, via Deadline, Hawke spoke about this topic and how it probably helped her land a role in Tarantino’s movie thanks to her mom’s working relationship with him:

I never meant to imply that I didn’t get the part for nepotistic reasons — I think I totally did.

Thurman played major parts in both the Kill Bill movies and Pulp Fiction. So, it’s hard not to draw a connection between that and her daughter’s role in the Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio-led movie.

Along with Hawke, the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood cast featured more actors with famous parents, as Margaret Qualley, who is Andie MacDowell’s daughter, and Rumer Willis, whose parents are Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, were also part of the movie. The Stranger Things actress explained that Tarantino wanted to “cast a lot of young Hollywood” in the film.

Continuing to speak about nepotism and the role it plays in her career, Maya Hawke was honest about it. When asked if she “deserves” the opportunities she’s gotten, she told the interviewer:

‘Deserves’ is a complicated word. There are so many people who deserve to have this kind of life who don’t, but I think I’m comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway. And I know that my not doing it wouldn’t help anyone. I saw two paths when I was first starting, and one of them was: change your name, get a nose job and go to open casting roles. It’s OK to be made fun of when you’re in rarefied air. It’s a lucky place to be. My relationships with my parents are really honest and positive, and that supersedes anything anyone can say about it.

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Maya Hawke in Stranger Things.
Maya Hawke in Stranger Things.

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This isn’t the first time Maya Hawke has spoken about nepotism and her career. She worked with her dad on the film Wildcat, which recently premiered on the 2024 movie schedule, and while they were promoting it, they weighed in on the debate.

Much like her recent comments, the actress told Variety that it’s fine that people criticize her over this topic, and in the end, she simply just wanted to work with her father on a project. As for Ethan’s thoughts, he noted his daughter’s fame and talent, saying he’s a “nepo dad.” Before that, the Dead Poets Society actor also gushed over his daughter’s work on Stranger Things, which makes it even clearer how much he respects her as an artist as well as his kid.

The Asteroid City actress is by no means the only famous person who has gotten candid about being a nepo baby. For example, Tilda Swinton’s daughter was honest about how her mom’s fame helped her develop important professional connections.

These quotes illuminate the idea that Maya Hawke understands and accepts the role her parents and their fame have played in her career. Overall, she seems to have a very level-headed perspective on the nepo baby debate, and she gets where it comes from. However, she’s also proven herself over the years that she’s just as good an actor as her parents.