Moon Knight | Ethan Hawke on Playing Sane Villain Arthur Harrow in Marvel’s newest horror suspense mini series, streaming on Disney+. Exclusive Moon Knight Ethan Hawke interview. May contain commissioned links. #MoonKnight
Moon Knight | Ethan Hawke on Playing a Sane Villain
According to Oscar Isaac, “Moral of the story, never read the script.“
The Moon Knight press conference was definitely full of intrigue, representation and even laughs as we sat down with the cast and crew of the all-new Marvel Studios series, Moon Knight. But easily, one guy stole the show for me, Ethan Hawke.
For the first time in Ethan Hawke’s 35 years of acting, he signed on to play the villain of Moon Knight without ever reading a script. What made this 4-time Oscar nominated actor gravitate towards joining the Marvel Universe as Moon Knight’s antagonist?
Well, that’s an interesting story.
Read the Moon Knight Review | Safe for Kids?
On Ethan Hawke’s Blind Faith to Join the MCU
You don’t have to be a religious zealot to have blind faith. Or maybe you do if you’re playing Arthur Harrow.
The intrigue surrounding the all-new original Marvel Studios streaming show exclusively on Disney+, Moon Knight, has certainly been building for the March 30th release date. But with everyone focusing on the fascinating mental illness duality of the newest superhero played by extremely talented actor, Oscar Isaac, it’s newcomer to the Disney/Marvel universe Ethan Hawke that has peeked my particular interest.
Give me a villain with hero-like qualities, a plausible twist, a layer of humanity, and who ultimately earns the empathy of the audience – that’s brilliant.
With over 35 years of experience in the film industry from his talented acting in movies such as “Dead Poets Society” and “Training Day” to directing and winning a Tony award, Ethan Hawke is no stranger to playing characters who are a little outside of the normal cookie cutter script. But signing a Marvel contract without even a glimpse as to who or what his character was going to be like? That takes a lot of faith.
And maybe a little convincing. With a little coaxing from Oscar Isaac and a little begging from Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, known for his passionate independent films pressing issues related to Egyptian society, they managed to wrangle Ethan Hawke to play ‘sane lunatic’ Arthur Harrow, religious zealot and cult leader on a righteous mission turned deadly.
In my whole experience…when there’s a huge budget, there’s a tremendous amount of fear. People in charge are incredibly controlling and creativity is reduced. And with Marvel, it’s the opposite of that.
“There was a lot playfulness, and a lot of willingness to fail, and a lot of willingness to have bad ideas.”
Because you can’t find a great idea if we don’t say some dumb ones and make mistakes. I sensed it from Oscar from the get-go, there was this huge passion to contribute. And that’s what collaboration is. And that’s what you guys told me would happen.
“And that’s why you don’t sign on without reading a script.”
But I’m really glad I did because I think it’s better because of the way [Moon Knight] evolved.
The Intrigue of Arthur Harrow, The Sane Villain
A mentally ill hero? That’s a horse of a different color.
Anyone can play an insane villain. But give Ethan Hawke a sane villain who’s trying to save the world – that’s fascinating. The riddle of playing Arthur Harrow, arch-nemesis and villain of Moon Knight in the new mini series was an interesting riddle to the Oscar-nominated actor.
A plot twist to his usual acting repertoire, he quickly realized that “I can’t be crazy, because the hero’s crazy.” And Hawke loved the idea of puzzling the audience with the idea of – ‘who really is the villain?’
The history of movies are paved with storytellers using mental illness as a building block for the villain. There’s countless stories, mentally ill villains.
“We have a mentally ill hero. And that’s fascinating because we’ve now inverted the whole process.”
“Now as the antagonist, I can’t be crazy because the hero’s crazy.”
So I have to find a ‘sane lunatic,’ or a sane malevolent force. That was an interesting riddle for me to figure out how to be in dynamics with what Oscar was doing.
Mohamed was really embracing [Moon Knight’s] mental illness as a way to create an unreliable narrator. And once you’ve broken the prison of reality, everything the audience is seeing is from skewed point of view. And that’s really interesting for the villain. Because am I being seen as I am? That was our riddle.
And we came up with somebody who was trying to save the world.
In his mind, [Arthur Harrow is the] ‘sane’ hero. He thinks that he’s going to be part of the solution.
But is Arthur Harrow truly sane? Only time will tell. Stay tuned for my Moon Knight Review for Parents. And see Academy Award nominated Ethan Hawke as arch-nemesis Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight, streaming exclusively on Disney+ starting Wednesday, March 30, 2022.
What do you think of Ethan Hawke’s ‘sane’ villain?
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The new Marvel Studios series, Moon Knight streams on Disney+ starting Wednesday March 30, 2022, with new episodes releasing every Wednesday through May 4, 2022.
I was invited to screen Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4 and attend an exclusive Moon Knight Press Conference for the new Marvel/Disney Plus series in exchange for this Moon Knight Ethan Hawke interview. All photos courtesy of Marvel/Disney. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie reviews, updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!