Ryan Phillippe: Why I Don't Want My and Reese Witherspoon's Kids Going Into Show Business

Exclusive! The Damages actor opens up about Ava and Deacon's future

By Marc Malkin Jun 14, 2013 8:48 PMTags
Ryan PhillippeChristopher Polk/Getty Images

Ryan Phillippe isn't necessarily against his kids Ava, 13, and Deacon, 9, going into show business like him and their mom, Reese Witherspoon, but he's definitely no stage dad.

"I think there's good and bad people in each and every occupation," says the Damages actor (who also has a two-year-old daughter Kai with former girlfriend Alexis Knapp). "If they're tough enough to handle all that would go along with it, then you know.

"And I've often said and I don't mean to dismiss or demean our industry but I'd like to see them do something a little more meaningful or important," he continued. "If I had the education and what they have offered to them as kids, I may have gone a different way."

I caught up with Phillippe last night at the Maui Film Festival for an exclusive interview before the screening of Isolated, a documentary he produced and narrates about about a group of surfers who traveled to the most remote parts of Indonesia to ride waves that had never been ridden before.

"What happened over the course of the shooting of the documentary was they sort of learned about this genocide happening in West Papua related to some of the actions that military in the area has taken against some of the natives," Phillippe said. "It weighed so heavily upon the surfers…that the film sort of shifts. It starts off as this surf documentary and becomes sort of a human rights piece."

He added, "Ultimately, the endgame would be to get some sort of attention from the U.S. government. We've got a petition in place that will hopefully make its way to the White House."

Phillippe and Witherspoon have also made sure their children are aware that such atrocities exist in the world, that not everyone lives like they do. "That's been a core element of our parenting both Reese and I with the kids, keeping them aware," Phillippe said. "Neither of us grew up particularly privileged. Our kids are now, so it's important to keep them mindful and I've got to say we've done that job."

Isolated is one of the few films that Phillippe has been involved with that Ava and Deacon are allowed to watch. The proud father in him beamed, "My son who's 9 years old watched it twice and was really moved by it and wants to do something."

Next up for Mr. Phillippe? He's hoping to hit the film festival circuit with his directional debut Shreveport, a psychological thriller that he also cowrote and stars in.

Watch: Ryan Phillippe on Raising Ava and Deacon
Watch: Ryan Phillippe's "Isolated" More Than Surfer Doc

For more of our chat with Ryan, check out E! News tonight at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

PHOTOS: Look who else is at the Maui Film Festival