Aside from talking about his late 'Explorers' co-star, the 'Reality Bites' star explains why he believes 'drugs and alcohol and depression are formidable opponents all over the world.'

AceShowbiz - Ethan Hawke has always avoided living in Hollywood as he is haunted by the death of his first co-star River Phoenix.

The pair both made their screen debut as teenagers in Joe Dante's sci-fi movie "Explorers" in 1985, but just eight years later River died aged 23 after suffering a drug overdose at West Hollywood's The Viper Room nightclub.

Ethan had moved to New York aged 18 a few years earlier, but says that he decided to avoid living in Hollywood as what happened to his pal was a "lesson" that taught him not to court fame by living in Los Angeles.

"Well, my first screen partner overdosed on Sunset Boulevard, you know? He was the brightest light and this industry chewed him up, and that was a big lesson to me," he tells British newspaper The Guardian. "If I had to put a single reason on why I never moved to LA, it would be I think it's too dangerous for an actor like me to be in that kind of climate."

Ethan was also a close pal of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a drug overdose in 2014 - another tragedy that taught the "Reality Bites" star that fame isn't all it's cracked up to be.

"Drugs and alcohol and depression are formidable opponents all over the world. People think getting what you want will make you happy, but a sense of self, purpose and love don't come from the outside," the 50-year-old adds. "You can't get distracted by this culture that celebrates things that sometimes aren't what they seem."

Praising the "Boogie Nights" star as an inspiration he says he "used his power, not for money or success, but to be serious and substantive."

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