Ethan Hawke felt ''washed up'' when he was just 30 years old.

The 47-year-old actor got his big break in 1989's 'Dead Poets Society' and went on to become a household name thanks to 1994 drama 'Reality Bites' and 'Before Sunrise' in 1995, but his career started to flounder at the end of the decade and he struggled to even find himself in consideration for roles.

He said: ''I had to go audition a couple times. That was when I knew the '90s were over.

''I was in a unique position, which is that I was only 30 years old, and I was washed up.

''All my friends were going to audition for 'Saving Private Ryan'. And I couldn't even get an audition for it, because they knew me and didn't want me. It's like, 'There's no need for me to audition, because we know him. No, not him.'

''And people were reading scenes from 'A Midnight Clear', which was a movie I had done and apparently Spielberg loved, but he didn't want me to audition.

''All these other guys were getting out of theater school, like the Ben Afflecks of the world, the Matt Damons of the world. All those guys were finding their voice and coming into their own. And you are on the lunch box from back then and have no place on the new lunch boxes, you know?''

Ethan - who has children Maya, 20, and Levon, 16, with ex-wife Uma Thurman and Clementine, 10, and Indiana, seven, with spouse Ryan Shawhughes - saw his fortunes change when he was cast in 2001's 'Training Day' and his portrayal of rookie cop Jake Hoyt saw him nominated for an Oscar.

However, it coincided with his split from his first wife and his life ''fell apart''.

He admitted to America's GQ magazine: ''In a lot of ways, it could have been the beginning of something. It was the best moment of my career. Like, maybe, maybe, you could be commercially viable.

''But I got divorced and my personal life fell apart. I don't know if you feel this way, but when you're depressed, it's really easy to see everything that is fake about other people and life, and I just started seeing all that. How phony celebrity was, how phony everything is. You channel your inner Holden Caulfield, you know?''

But the 'First Reformed' star credits his children for helping pull him out of his low period.

Asked what him brought out of his depression, he said: ''Work. Theatre. My kids. That's the wonderful thing about children is they just need you every day. It gives your life balance. Meaning your whole life isn't just about yourself.''