Finally MCU Ethan Hawke Moon Knight

Ethan Hawke was just going for a coffee. But because he wanted that coffee, and decided to get that coffee, he ended up running into Oscar Isaac. And because Oscar Isaac liked Hawke’s 2020 series The Good Lord Bird, and Hawke liked Isaac’s, well, everything, the two sort of just figured it out right there in the moment: why not work together on Isaac’s next project, Moon Knight? “We couldn’t even go inside,” Hawke says, remembering the winter 2020 crossing of paths during a Zoom call. “We were getting served our coffees out on the street, with freezing cold hands and masks on.” But as unpleasant as the outdoor conditions were, it was enough for them to get the ball rolling on the role that landed Hawke his debut role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing the villain in the new Disney+ series Moon Knight. It’s a big shift for Hawke, who’s made his name primarily for appearing not in major blockbuster fare—he’s said before that he turned down the lead role in Independence Day and was rumored to appear in Lord of the Rings but ultimately did not—but smaller roles that are either in independent film or damn close to it. Movies like Richard Linklater’s Before films or Boyhood, or Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites,or Paul Schrader’s First Reformed tend to be more his speed than, say, Thor or Fast and Furious 6. Hawke did hint, though, in a 2018 interview with Variety, that he had his eyes on something in that world.

“One thing I haven’t been able to do that I really thought I would have been able to do is, before I die, I would really like to give a meaningful performance inside a really commercial film,” he said, specifically citing Alec Guinness’ original turn as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope. Perhaps he’s found that in Moon Knight. The show centers on Isaac’s dual role as mercenary Marc Spector and regular guy Steven Grant, two personalities that share the same body; the character has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Hawke enters the fray as a a Cult Leader Presence named Arthur Harrow, showing up with an unusually clean-shaven face, a tattoo on his forearm that seems to be capable of literally killing people, and long, flowing hair. “He sees himself as one of the great saints of the world, and I think that was always my key to him,” Hawke says. “That this is the kind of person who aspired for sainthood.”

While some Marvel properties struggle to find a convincing villain, it’s fairly clear right from the top that won’t be the case in Moon Knight—it’s hard to look away when Hawke is on screen. Before Moon Knight begins its 6-episode run, we caught up with the 51-year-old star to learn a bit more about his journey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how he found his own place within it. You want to have a new angle. You don’t want to just rehash some old story. So, we have a new superhero, so there’s new lexicon, and new myths, and a new legend of Moon Knight. And one that I didn’t know anything about, and I imagine a lot of the audience doesn’t know anything about Moon Knight and what his story is. And getting to make somebody’s personal recovery story, their recovery from mental illness, be the hero’s journey—there’s something beautiful about that. You know, we’re often given these stories of the mentally ill as dangerous. Villains are always the horribly mentally ill person. But to see someone’s journey out of mental illness as heroic has a beautiful metaphor at the subconscious of the film. I thought that was something new that we could build on. Lots of superheroes have backstories, or they have a dark side. But this one’s actually in crisis of mental health.

All of the big streaming platforms have fascinating new movies and shows out on streaming this weekend, so let’s highlight one from each! Dive deeper into the world of social media stars through the new Netlfix-original series Hype House; you will not believe that there is more to learn about these people than what they already share with the would via TikTok. Over on Amazon Prime Video, George Clooney is directing a new drama film, The Tender Bar, starring Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan. Hulu is teaching an amazing history lesson this weekend through ABC’s new historical drama series, The Women of the Movement. Last, but certainly not least, is the season 2 premiere of the hit HBO Max series, Euphoria. We have been waiting for this one for a while, and the dark teen drama is ready to pay off!