Ethan Hawke Explains Why He Finally Took on a Marvel Role

Technically, Moon Knight‘s Ethan Hawke has appeared in a comic book movie already. In Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, based on the French sci-fi comics, he played a pimp named Jolly. But when it comes to the superhero stuff, he’s one of the big names that has mostly stayed away. Though as he tells EW, it wasn’t because he didn’t like them.

“The comic book world meant a lot to me when I was younger,” Hawke says. “I was always a little apprehensive; there’s a certain kind of actor that really excels in that universe, and I’m still not sure I’m one of them. But then Oscar [Isaac] asked me, and I really respect him. And I knew that if he went in, he was going to go all in, and it’s fun to do any genre with people who are all in. Mohamed Diab, I really like his films, he’s a special director. So it just became about the project, and it wasn’t an intellectual decision at all; it was like, ‘Oh, let’s do something cool with these guys.'”

Hawke also had concerns about playing villains for much of his career, fearing it would leave viewers unable to see him as a good guy again. “Jack Nicholson can be playing an accountant and you’re still waiting for him to explode like he did in The Shining,” he observes. “It changes your relationship to a performer, so I’ve always been nervous about it. But I realized I’m on the other side of 50 and it’s time to put a new tool in the tool kit. Villains might be my future.”

RELATED: Marvel Studios Debuts the First Trailer For Moon Knight

As for his Moon Knight character, which the trailer’s closed captioning has named as Arthur Harrow even though Disney has yet to confirm, the obscurity helps. Harrow barely appeared in the comics at all. “If you do Batman or Superman or Hulk, any of these famous ones, the fans have so many preconceived things that they want from it,” he says. “It’s like playing Hamlet. Ninety percent of people there have an opinion about how Hamlet should be played. I love doing Shakespeare in front of student audiences because they don’t have a big agenda. They didn’t see how much better Patrick Stewart did it than you. They’re just accepting of how you did it.”

Of course, Hawke did play an onscreen Hamlet. But he expects Moon Knight will be different. “We get to create a world and a character,” he notes. “The fan in me always enjoys the first movie. I love learning about how the hell Captain America came to be — those are my favorite parts of the story.”

Moon Knight debuts on Disney+ March 30. Let us know what you hope for from Hawke in comments.

Recommended Reading: Moon Knight by Lemire & Smallwood 

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