But Hawke, 44, admits that his role in a small movie such as "Boyhood," for which he earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination, rejuvenated his passion for acting in a big way.
"The success of 'Boyhood' kind of made me feel really ... I mean, it was a crazy pipe dream," he told ABC News about the movie, which was filmed over a 12-year span. "As you get more and more adult, you start to think it's time to grow up and have a real job you hate like everyone else."
The welcoming reception not only from the audience but from critics and the Academy made Hawke feel like independent cinema has a place in the world of superhero blockbusters.
"I felt like that was always my goal: to make interesting, eccentric movies, but also have them be relevant to people," he said. "It keeps you believing that it's worth trying. I love movies and this has been one of the best years of my life professionally by far."
Hawke is proud to participate in a wide range of projects in recent years.
"I've had a really big, disparate interest in cinema. My interest is a wide net,” he said. “To get to make a political film, to get to make a documentary, to get to make a little, personal indie movie, it's really exciting for me. So, 25 years of working in this profession, I'm at a moment, where I'm able to do things the way I've been wanting to do them."
Hawke added his current slate of films and their success is "really inspiring to me, because sometimes it's easy to think, 'Oh, it doesn't matter. Nothing you do matters and it all falls into some void.' Then you star to realize, it does matter."
"It's a difficult movie to talk about because the subject matter is so tough," he said. "The relationship between cinema and war has been pretty tight throughout the years. It's a really useful way for us average citizens to learn about what's happening."
The movie addresses "interesting moral decisions," but tactics that also save lives, Hawke said. He added that perpetual warfare could be a byproduct of drones.
"If you have boots on the ground and you win hearts and minds, you can win a war with people," he said. "Whether or not you can win a war with drones, remains to be seen."
"It was a sea of phones I was looking at, not the people," he said. "There this whole detachment happening and I don't know what it means."
As for how getting into the role affected the actor's life, he admits that he has to compartmentalize with this and other projects.
Hawke's character in “Good Kill” drinks vodka "like it's water" due to the mental effects of modern-day warfare. The role presented a departure from his usual roles.
"I've never been asked to play a part where I talked less," he said. "I think I have 15 lines in the whole movie."
This is the third movie Hawke has done with director Andrew Niccol, following “Gattaca” and “Lord of War.” Hawke is impressed with Niccol's ability to tackle profound subject matter.