Bestinau got that-
Ethan Hawke and Oscar Isaac’s Collaboration on Marvel Studios’ Latest Disney+ Series, Moon Knight, started out as a kind of meet-cute in a Brooklyn coffee shop. The two acclaimed actors live just a few blocks from each other and as soon as they first met at their community center, they quickly shared their mutual admiration. Isaac, who was already developing Moon Knight at that point, wasting no time and pitching Hawke on playing the series’ antagonist, which he immediately accepted. That role would later become the enigmatic cult leader Arthur Harrow.
When they finally began filming together in mid-2021, Hawke and Isaac bonded over being filmmaker Paul Schrader’s two most recent leading men in first reformed (2017) and The card counter (2021), respectively. They also found that they both like to organize their work while running.
“We both realized that we like to run. So it was a great way to talk and get to know each other better, to chat about the show and to troubleshoot our scripts,” Hawke said. The Hollywood Reporter† “That’s probably what I remember most about our summer. Just fighting out the scripts as we raced through Budapest.
Hawke, admittedly critical of superhero movies in the past, got a whole new perspective on the genre when Marvel Studios welcomed his creativity with open arms. The opening scene of Moon Knight is the best example of the creative freedom he was granted when Hawke presented the idea of his character covering the insoles of his shoes with broken glass while listening to Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand”. (The scene is reminiscent of how Billy Bob Thornton allegedly caused his limp in) Slingbladebut Hawke believes the idea came to him from reading the works of Flannery O’Connor.)
†[Marvel Studios has] tremendous faith and belief in the actor’s ability to contribute. The opening scene is a good example of that [Marvel] using your creativity to help you invest in the show and come up with original ideas,” shares Hawke. “So I was really impressed with that. At one point, when Oscar and I were rehearsing, I said to him, ‘Do you realize they’re so nice? They believe in us so much that if this doesn’t work, it’s our fault. We can’t blame anyone.’ But that’s really empowering as an artist. Yes, you have to work in their kitchen, but they make you work.”
In a recent conversation with THRHawke takes a closer look at how he came to Moon Knight‘s opening scene. He then explains why he considers Harrow to be ‘Moon Knight’s doctor’.
The opening scene of Harrow reminded me of a story about Billy Bob Thornton and how he supposedly put broken glass in his shoes to limp in his shoes. Slingblade† Did one inspire the other? Or is Harrow’s act a form of self-punishment for past sins?
I love comic books. So I went to the directors and said, “When you look at a really good comic book, there’s usually a full-page drawing of the villain.” Whether a page has four drawings, eight drawings, every now and then there is a full-page drawing. So I thought, “What would be the full-page drawing that Harrow introduces? What’s his secret you want to tell the public about?” And then they turned it back to me and said, “Well, would you tell us what you think it is?” I was always hypnotized by deeply spiritual people tearing themselves apart. You hear stories about all these saints and how they dress her would wear or hit themselves, so I was always like, “I thought we should love each other and be nice. What is all this self-immolation? What’s that about?” So I had a vision of him pouring glass into his shoes and listening to Bob Dylan. And then I explained that to them, and they said, “Let’s do that!” And I was like, “Okay!” But that’s how it came about, and I’m curious how Billy Bob came up with that in Slingblade† Mine was more inspired by… I don’t know. I think I probably read too much Flannery O’Connor.
So you probably had some preconceptions about Marvel before working with them. How did your experience ultimately match what you once thought?
For much of my career, the higher the budget, the higher the fear quotient, and from the people in charge there was a lot less creativity on set because there was so much fear. But there is something about the success that Marvel has achieved that allows them to be confident and not afraid. I’m just guessing here, but somehow in the DNA between Kevin Feige’s relationship with Robert Downey Jr. something very good happened between producer and actor relationship. They have tremendous confidence and belief in the actor’s ability to contribute. That opening scene is a great example of how they use your creativity to help you invest in the show and come up with original ideas. So I was really impressed with that. Oscar threw himself into this role. At one point, when Oscar and I were rehearsing, I said to him, ‘Do you realize they’re so nice? They believe in us so much that if this doesn’t work, it’s our fault. We can’t blame anyone.” (laughs.) But that really gives strength as an artist. Yes, you have to work in their kitchen, but they make you work.
When your neighborhood cafe brought you and Oscar together for this show, did you end up bonding over Paul Schrader?
Yes, we did. Oscar is a big first reformed fan, and he just finished The card counter when we started. That is a certain experience with Paul. card counter† first reformed and Willem Dafoe in light sleeperthose three movies are all siblings. Taxi driverat!
When your friend/neighbor Alessandro Nivola heard the story of how you and Oscar first hooked up at the aforementioned Brooklyn coffee shop, did he go there more often?
†Hawke bursts out laughing.) He’ll be in it now too, right?
Yes, JC Chandor’s Kraven the hunter†
Yes, he has known JC for a long time so I think he and JC go to their own coffee shop. But I’m going to tell him you said that because I think it’s really funny.
I saw some footage of you and Oscar jogging through Budapest. Is that where a lot of your character discussions took place?
There was a quarantine going on so we had very little access to do much of anything. That city is actually incredibly beautiful. And yes, we both realized we like to run. So it was a great way to talk and get to know each other, chat about the show, and troubleshoot our scripts. That’s probably what I remember most about our summer. Just fighting out the scripts as we raced through Budapest.
From the Dalai Lama to David Koresh, you’ve mentioned a number of influences on your character, but is there one in particular that you gravitated towards the most?
Definitely Carl Jung. When I started talking to Oscar I realized how much he invested in DID [Dissociative Identity Disorder]† He really wanted to fully explore this mental illness for his character, and I also realized how much that illness has to do with dreams and symbols. So I started thinking about Carl Jung, and I started thinking of Harrow as Moon Knight’s doctor. I really started looking into that relationship and thought, “What if Jung [went] to the dark side?”
Moon Knight Premieres March 30 on Disney+†