It was clear from Moon Knight’s first trailer that Steven Grant’s Britishness and vocal quirks are important details about him that likely play a part in how the show handles the character’s canonical struggle with dissociative identity disorder. What was less clear, however, was how the decision to portray Moon Knight as an Englishman actually came about as a result of the larger shape of the current MCU.
While Marvel’s Moon Knight comics were originally born and raised in Chicago before becoming a superhero in marines, in Disney Plus’ upcoming Moon Knight series, Oscar Isaac stars as a slightly different version of the titular character that happens. – or so it seems – to come from jolly old London. When we spoke to Isaac recently on the Moon Knight news paper, he shared how involving his own biological brother in the project helped shape his approach to both Steven Grant and Marc Spector, one of Moon Knight’s alternate personalities.
“That was really helpful to have someone who is not only a great actor but also shares my DNA to play with,” Isaac said of his brother, Mike Hernandez. “But something I didn’t expect was how technically demanding that would be — I had to show up and decide which character to play first, and then try to block that, give my brother notes and then do the scene, and switch then by character, and then figure it out.”
Moon Knight, Isaac explained, would always be set in London, where Marc works as a mild-mannered shop assistant in a museum store because Marvel felt “we just have too many characters in New York.” When Isaac first signed on to the project, the studio hadn’t really committed to the idea that any of Moon Knight’s personalities would be a Brit, and there was a chance the hero could have just been depicted as a American expatriate wandering the city. However, that changed when Isaac began to see his Moon Knight character as an opportunity to showcase his passion for English comedies like Stath Lets Flats and The Office.
“I thought, ‘There’s an opportunity here to maybe make something,'” Isaac said. ‘What if we make him English? Like, what if Peter Sellars was approached with a Marvel project? What would he do?’”
Isaac pointed to Karl Pilkington’s performance in An Idiot Abroad as another point of reference for his Moon Knight, less for his accent and more “for his sense of humor where you can’t tell if he knows he’s funny.” Like his comic book counterpart, Moon Knight’s Marc/Steven is Jewish, and while Isaac didn’t elaborate on how the show will explore that about him, he made it a point to note that London is home to a fairly robust Jewish community in areas like Enfield to the north.
“I started listening to accents that are kind of, you know, North East London, and then just got into that and found this [character]’ said Isaac. “It wasn’t just about accent, but also his shyness, but also contact with people, but not exactly how.”
Moon Knight is coming to Disney Plus on March 30.