Moon Knight | Oscar Isaac on Marvel’s Mentally Ill Hero in Marvel’s newest horror suspense mini series, streaming on Disney+. Exclusive Moon Knight Oscar Isaac interview. May contain commissioned links. #MoonKnight
Moon Knight | Oscar Isaac on Marvel’s Mentally Ill Hero
There’s Endgame Marvel and then there’s post-Endgame woke Marvel. And woke Marvel has a mentally ill superhero.
And I am here. For. It.
It’s not too surprising that this mom and parent movie reviewer is also huge advocate for mental health. Personally suffering from high functioning anxiety depression, there’s still quite a bit of stigma surrounding mental illness, treatment, and struggles in the world, especially diagnoses people don’t know a lot about.
Insert Marvel’s Moon Knight, the first Marvel Studios television series focusing on a mentally ill superhero at the forefront – loudly and proudly.
For Marvel to come out and say ‘hey, this is a show about a hero suffering from mental illness,’ that’s a HUGE deal. Dissociative Identity Disorder aka DID (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is THE key character in Marvel’s all-new 6-episode series, Moon Knight. Seeing a Marvel superhero struggling with inner and outer demons (literally and figuratively) has me jumping up and down (literally and figuratively, as well).
So what does Oscar Isaac think of Marvel’s first mentally ill hero? And was it really hard to play multiple ‘characters’ in his role? He shares the hero struggles, both on screen and off the screen in this behind-the-scenes exclusive interview. Warning: spoilers ahead.
Read the non-spoiler Moon Knight Review | Safe for Kids?
Dissociative Identity Disorder Versus Schizophrenia
Honestly while I was prescreening Moon Knight, I immediately thought Oscar Isaac’s character suffered from mental illness. However, my first thought was schizophrenia, not multiple personality disorder. So what does Moon Knight actually suffer from?
What’s the difference between dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia? While there are a number of differences between the two similar diagnoses, for the purpose of this series, DID is trauma-induced, rooted in reality with the character assuming multiple alternative personalities as different personas. Schizophrenia, however, is gene-based, not rooted in reality with the characters assuming multiple false beliefs, hallucinations and delusions (aka making stuff up in the minds).
Why Play a Mentally Ill Superhero?
There’s something intriguing about playing a different kind of role. From Star Wars to Dune and now Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac has certainly played a huge array of characters. But something about playing a superhero struggling internally as well as externally caught the attention of the award winning actor.
“There’s a real opportunity to do something completely different, particularly in the MCU, to really focus on this internal struggle of this character. And to use Egyptian iconography and the superhero genre and this language to talk about this real internal struggle that this person is having.”
This duality of playing two completely different identities from personalities down to the very accent – Isaac rose to the challenge. Steven or Marc? Who does Isaac most identify with?
“I think Steven in particular, there’s a sense of humor there that’s different from what we’ve seen…of somebody that doesn’t know their being funny. And to find the counterpart of that with Marc. In some ways leaning into a bit of the stereotype of the tortured, kind of dark vigilante guy. But what makes [Marc] so special is that he has this little Englishman living inside of him.”
Why Moon Knight Is More Terrifying Than Any Marvel Release
Suspense. Horror. Terror. Moon Knight is unlike any other superhero. But what makes Moon Knight a show unlike any other in the Marvel Universe?
You’re in the skin of this guy. And you’re seeing things happen and experiencing it just as he’s experiencing it. There’s something that’s terrifying about that.
A Challenging Co-Star
Lack of spontaneity. Technically demanding. Perhaps a diva? According to Oscar Isaac, he found his co-star challenging to play off of. And as co-stars go, Oscar Isaac acting across from himself…well, especially challenging. “That was something that I didn’t anticipate, how technically demanding that was going to be.”
Good thing he gets a little help from his DNA.
Hiring on his brother and fellow actor Michael Hernandez, Isaac relied on his blood relative to be the closest person to Isaac himself. Playing both Steven and Marc as well as doing both accents Isaac admits, “that was really helpful to have someone who’s not only a great actor, but also shares my DNA to play off of.”
Is the World Ready for a Marvel Mental Health Spotlight?
But is the world ready for a mentally ill superhero? Is the world ready to accept dissociative identity disorder in Marc Spector and Steven Grant? And is the world ready to embrace Moon Knight? According to director Mohamed Diab, he thinks the world is more than ready. Because DID is all of us.
DID, at the end [is] what we learn. What I learned through the journey of doing the show is that the character needs to live with themselves, the identities. Each of us, the persona is the mask that we’re putting [on]. I’m right now putting a mask to hide my desires, to hide everything, the other character in me. What I learned from Marc and Steven is that I need to be the same. I need to be one person. I think this is the struggle that all of us through their journey of living is trying to achieve. Integration.
As Oscar Isaac closed us out on the press conference, he left some truly inspiring words for those who are also struggling with mental health issues.
“To be able to live through abuse or trauma and survive it and then come to terms with that as opposed to push it all away and to see that journey happen…that in itself is it’s own super power.”
This Marvel show is so much more than just mental health representation. It’s huge steps towards understanding and accepting those suffering with DID or schizophrenia, normalizing mental health for everyone including superheroes, and finally realizing that the struggle, the journey, the survival is a super power.
See Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight, the hero diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, streaming on Disney+ starting Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Stay tuned for my Moon Knight review for kids coming soon.
Follow Moon Knight on social:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moonknight/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/moonknight
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themoonknight/
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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!