Why Ethan Hawke Signed On To Moon Knight Without Reading A Script

Ethan Hawke has been acting in the business for decades, having appeared in everything from "Dead Poets Society" to "Sinister," moving from Oscar-winning dramas to acclaimed westerns and everything in between. But Hawke had never dipped his toes into the realm of superheroes until now, and you'll soon see him as the main villain in Marvel's "Moon Knight," which arrives on Disney+ later this month. Surprisingly enough, despite some perceived criticism of Marvel Studios productions awhile back, Hawke was willing to sign on to play the role of Arthur Harrow alongside Oscar Isaac's title character without even reading a script.

Ethan Hawke was actually asked not to read the script

Recently, Hawke, Isaac, and director Mohamad Diab participated in a press conference in promotion of the show's forthcoming release. During the conversation attended virtually by /Film, Diab explained how he managed to convince Hawke to finally join the superhero world while violating one of his main rules as an actor. In the end, it all had to do with offering up more collaboration.

"When it came to the signing [onto the project], Ethan is someone who everyone has seen as this great, legendary independent film actor, and joining the superhero world is something big. So, when Oscar [Isaac] first approached him and then I talked to him about it, we pitched him the idea, but I told him, 'Please don't read the script.' Not that the script is bad, but when you work with him, you have to get from him... I think [Arthur] Harrow is his own, in a way. It's a ping-pong between us all, but definitely his own. So, to trust us, he told me, 'This is the first time in 35 years I've signed [onto] something without reading a script.' And he did it."

Diab, it seems, wanted Hawke's input on the character and didn't want to handcuff him to what was rigidly written on the page. This, in turn, helped to ensure that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would get a deeply respected actor to appear in the show.

Room to experiment

As for Hawke's end of it, he was extremely complimentary towards all involved. Not only to Diab and his co-star Isaac, but of the entire Marvel Studios machine overall. From his perspective, they are more willing to collaborate as an entity than most other big-budget projects he's dealt with over the years. From his view, that yields better results. Hawke explained:

"In my whole experience, usually when there's a huge budget, there's a tremendous amount of fear, and the people in charge are incredibly controlling, and creativity is reduced. In my entire experience with you [executive producer] Grant [Curtis], and with Marvel, it's the opposite of that. You guys have translated your success into confidence. 'Yes, we are going to cook in your kitchen, but if we stay in the kitchen, we can do what we want.' There was a lot of 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 with Oscar from the get-go... There was a huge passion to contribute, and when an actor has a strong hit on a character, when they have something they want to contribute and you follow it, good things happen... And that's what collaboration is. You guys were so willing to have that happen. That's what you guys told me would happen, but sometimes what people tell you... that's why you don't sign on without reading a script, but I'm really glad I did because it's better because of the way it evolved."

A unique Marvel tale

Obviously "Moon Knight" required collaboration and invention within the MCU machine, especially since. Moon Knight is not a traditional superhero by any means. He suffers from a form of dissociative identity disorder. That makes the whole thing much different compared to the more standard superhero fare. What is being said here seems to indicate that invention within the hit-making machine was what allowed for the show to exist as it does. Here's hoping that collaboration led to a satisfying end result.

"Moon Knight" premieres on March 30, 2022 on Disney+. Here's the official synopsis:

Moon Knight follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc's enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.