Oscar Isaac Explains The Origin Of His Wild Moon Knight Accent

Marvel's new Disney+ series "Moon Knight" is set to premiere at the end of this month, and star Oscar Isaac is playing a character with dissociative identity disorder. One part of his character is Steven Grant, a mild-mannered museum gift shop worker. He speaks with a delightful British accent, and now we're learning about where that accent came from.

A lot of people thought the accent Oscar Isaac adopted for this role sounded strange in the trailer, and I must agree. Having seen more than the trailer, though, I can tell you that it not only works, but it's pretty great! (Please note that I am an American, so my judgement of the accuracy o British accents comes down to, "Does it sound like my Dad trying to do one, or do I believe this person could be from England?" So take that as you will.)

Today, /Film attended the virtual press conference for "Moon Knight," where Oscar Isaac spoke about creating the Steven part of his character with the accent in question, and his inspiration came from some surprising sources.

'We just have too many characters in New York'

Isaac first addressed where the British accent came from in general, "It was set in London, and when I asked why ... the answer was, we just have too many characters in New York." I mean, that is definitely true. It does often feel like poor NYC is getting the brunt of the disasters and the majority of the heroes who aren't from space. People do live in other places, ya know. Not that I need to see superheroes in West Madeuptown, Indiana, but we can destroy/rebuild/enjoy the scenery in other major metropolitan areas. 

As far as where the actual specifics of the speech pattern comes from, Isaac said, "I think of an expat in London ... I mean, I love English humor like 'The Office' ... there's just so much of that humor that I find so funny. And I thought ... maybe there's an opportunity to maybe make something — what if we make him English? What if Peter Sellers was approached with a Marvel project, what would he do? So I started thinking about that, and that led me to Karl Pilkington from 'An Idiot Abroad,' and not so much for the accent, but just for his sense of humor, and you can't tell if he knows he's being funny."

I'm not super familiar with "An Idiot Abroad," but I like the idea of someone who doesn't know he's funny. Particularly because Oscar Isaac is funny in this show. I mean, if he's going to look exactly the same, the more differences between his identities, the better. 

It's not just comedy that informed the accent though. It was also the specific location. He said, "I thought about the Jewish community in London, and where a lot of that community is from, and Enfield is an area. And [I] started listening to accents that are kind of northeast London. I just committed to that and found this guy that wasn't just about accent, but it was also about his timidness, wanting to connect with people but not quite knowing how. Russell Kane is another comedian I listened to as well."

Steven Grant in the house!

Isaac also spoke to Radio Times, and it sounds like his family had to live with Steven Grant, and thankfully, they didn't mind it. He recalled, "Suddenly Steven Grant started appearing for me, and I started doing it around the house for my kids and my wife, and they kept asking me to do it. I was like, 'Alright, well, maybe there's something here.'" As someone who lives with an actor who does a lot of voices, I feel this in my soul. 

Marvel President Kevin Feige was also on board with the idea, but Isaac clarified, "He told me they didn't know what the hell I was doing, and they weren't sure it was going to work at all. But you know, in the end I'm glad we did that, because everyone says it kind of makes the show." You can see for yourself soon enough when "Moon Knight" premieres on Disney+ on March 30, 2022.