‘Moon Knight’: Ethan Hawke Reveals How Oscar Isaac’s Depiction of Mental Illness Sold Him on the Marvel Show


  • Ethan Hawke plays antagonist Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight.
  • The actor recently revealed what sold him on the Marvel show.
  • Hawke waited for the “right” role to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow in 'Moon Knight' on Disney+. He's frowning and holding a cane.
Ethan Hawke in ‘Moon Knight’ | Marvel Studios

Moon Knight just made its debut on Disney+, and the Marvel series can boast a compelling lead and a fascinating antagonist. The latter is played by Ethan Hawke, who brings trouble to Steven Grant’s (Oscar Isaac) life from the very beginning of Moon Knight. Hawke recently opened up about what sold him on the Marvel show. As it turns out, his co-star’s approach to the series and its mental illness storyline drew him in.

Ethan Hawke plays Arthur Harrow in ‘Moon Knight’

Ethan Hawke’s Moon Knight character is the epitome of a villain who thinks he’s a hero. Arthur Harrow works for the Egyptian goddess Ammit, and he claims his actions will root out evil before it occurs.

Although his mission eliminates free will for other people, Arthur claims it’s all for a greater purpose. He even insists Ammit could have stopped countless tragedies — from the Holocaust to the Armenian genocide.

With Arthur so committed to his cause, it’s hard to dislike him as a character — even if you don’t agree with everything he does. However, it’s not the complexity of his own character that got Hawke truly interested in the Marvel show. It seems he was more swayed by Oscar Isaac’s take on the Disney+ series’ lead.

Oscar Isaac sold the actor on joining the ‘Moon Knight’ cast

Ethan Hawke gives a compelling performance in Moon Knight, but what made him decide to take on this Marvel role? During an interview with Screen Rant, he admitted that Oscar Isaac approached him with the opportunity. And something about Isaac’s passion for bringing this new hero to life caught the actor’s attention.

“This one seemed right, mostly because I love the way that it happened to me: having Oscar pitch me on it and seeing the fire in his eyes to play this part,” Hawke recalled.

In particular, Hawke was interested in the fresh perspective Moon Knight brings to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not just that he’s a new hero; he’s also one with a mental illness, something Marvel hasn’t really touched on before:

“I’ve been doing this so long, and you get a feeling when somebody’s for real. He was scared. It’s a big dare; it’s a jump off a high dive to play a new character and to play a new superhero in the Marvel lexicon, as it were. To play one that’s mentally broken, and to really take on that challenge of multiple personality and be a hero. Mental illness is often used to create villains, but not often to create heroes. When he started talking about that, I got really interested.

That’s an aspect of the series that’s likely to appeal to many viewers, especially those looking for a change of pace from Marvel’s other recent projects. And Hawke’s part in this show is also likely to draw viewers in. Why did it take him so long to make his MCU debut?

Why Ethan Hawke took so long to join the MCU

Now that Ethan Hawke has officially joined the MCU in Moon Knight, the actor has high praise for Marvel. During an interview with reporter Lucy Jones, per On Demand Entertainment, he praised the studio’s treatment of its actors. He also shared why it’s taken so long for him to accept a role in the franchise.

“You have to find the right one,” Hawke said. “There’s ones I’ve wanted that I didn’t get, and there’s ones they wanted me to do [that I didn’t]. Because once you’re in, you’re stuck there. You’ve got to make sure you like your lane. But no, I’m happy with this one.”

Hopefully, that means we’ll see more of Arthur Harrow beyond his time in Moon Knight. See Hawke’s performance in the series premiere, which is currently streaming on Disney+.

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