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Ethan Hawke Directs Daughter Maya in “Wildcat ”Trailer: 'She's a Force' as Author Flannery O'Connor (Exclusive)

Ethan Hawke says his daughter Maya found "a real difficult portrait of a person worth talking about" in playing O'Connor

Ethan Hawke and his daughter Maya Hawke are teaming up for their next movie.

On Wednesday, Oscilloscope Laboratories shared the trailer for Wildcat, exclusively with PEOPLE. The film sees Ethan, 53, direct his daughter Maya, 25, as 20th-century author Flannery O'Connor.

Wildcat depicts O'Connor's life in the 1950s as she writes her debut novel Wise Blood and is diagnosed with lupus at 24 years old.

Ethan, who like O'Connor is an author himself, cowrote the script with Shelby Gaines, while Maya — best known for her starring role in Stranger Things — receives her first executive producer credit on the film.

The movie's trailer displays O'Connor's wild imagination, her devout Catholicism and strained relationship with her mother (Laura Linney) as she struggles with her failing health while committing herself to her writing.

In an interview with PEOPLE about the upcoming movie, Training Day star Ethan says that he and Maya teamed up because she “wanted to make a movie about a young woman where the primary relationship of the movie was to herself and her work.”

Related: Maya Hawke's Parents: All About Her Relationship With Dad Ethan and Mom Uma

<p>Courtesy of Oscilloscope</p> Maya Hawke (center) in Wildcat

Courtesy of Oscilloscope

Maya Hawke (center) in Wildcat

"Anybody that knows Maya knows that she's a force,” Ethan says of his daughter. “She always has been. She writes and performs her own music and she loves acting and she loves painting and she's kind of an artistic animal.”

“There's a lot of movies about men and their relationship to themselves and their work, but you don't see a lot of movies about young women that are about that," he adds. "And I think she saw in Flannery's experience a real challenge — a real difficult portrait of a person worth talking about, and I think the actor in her saw. 'Oh wow. I'd like to play her,’ and because I come at directing it as an actor, that really excites me."

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For Ethan and Maya, just making a film together is not enough — the filmmaker says the project is only fun "if we have something to say and we offer something."

"I think it was a thrill for us to collaborate with all the people in the production. So many people were so gifted around us and it was just fun to be in a band together," he adds.

Related: Ethan Hawke Says Daughter Maya Gives 'One of My Favorite Performances I've Ever Seen' in Their New Film

<p>Courtesy of Oscilloscope</p> Maya Hawke in Wildcat

Courtesy of Oscilloscope

Maya Hawke in Wildcat

O'Connor died in 1964 at 39 years old. She published two novels and dozens of short stories during her writing career. "She's an incredibly compelling figure. There's something about what a devout serious young woman she was, juxtaposed with the absolute insane madness of her imagination," Ethan says of the author.

Wildcat is in theaters May 3. The movie made its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last fall.

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