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SYFY WIRE Moon Knight

Ethan Hawke says his villainous Moon Knight role is based on former cult leader David Koresh

By Justin Carter
Seth Meyers, Ethan Hawke

As a man whose film career goes back to 1985, Ethan Hawke has inhabited several memorable roles. But none of them, from early work like Explorers and Dead Poets Society to later fare such as First Reformed and The Good Lord Bird, had prepared him for Marvel's Moon Knight.

In a recent chat with Late Night's Seth Meyers, Hawke happily talked about the upcoming Disney+ series, and its current production in Budapest, where he zoomed in from. "These are the best sets I've ever been on in my life," he raved. "I've entered some alternate universe, and it's kinda interesting." 

Check out the interview below:

During the interview Meyers jokes that with Hawke's long hair and glasses, he looks eerily similar to David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidans cult who died in 1993 when his compound in Waco, Texas was sieged by the federal authorities. According to Hawke, the look is very much intentional. "I've based my character on David Koresh!" he said. "He's the basis of great character inspiration."

Hawke was cast as the still unnamed villain in January, and you can apparently thank Oscar Isaac for that. As Hawke recalled, the two actors live near each other in Brooklyn, New York, and randomly met each other at a coffee shop. "He came up to me like, 'Hey, I really liked The Good Lord Bird.' I was like, 'Oh, cool, I really like your work. You're amazing.' He's like, 'Hey, want to be in Moon Knight with me?' I was like ... yeah!"

Based on the comics created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, the titular Moon Knight is a former U.S. Marine and current mercenary with dissociative identity disorder named Marc Spector (played by Isaac) who is granted superpowers from the Egyptian Moon god Khonshu. The character has been the star of several solo comics over the years, and most recently became a vessel for the Phoenix when the cosmic fire bird needed itself a new vessel. That role is now filled by Echo, who is set to debut in Hawkeye as played by Alaqua Cox, before receiving her own spinoff series

Not just content with being on a show based on a comic, Hawke took the time to hype up his newly released graphic novel, Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story. Though Hawke figures himself the "star" of the book, he views co-writer and illustrator Greg Ruth as the "director, costume designer, the hair and makeup's his artistry that really makes it."

The pair previously worked together on an earlier graphic novel, Indeh. This new book came to Hawke's mind while filming The Magnificent 7 in 2017. Taking place over a single day between a father and son, Meadowlark is about the disappointment that comes with growing up. "At its secret subconscious, it's kind of a Greek myth," he said.

As a fan of crime books, and having recently read a book from novelist Jim Thompson, Hawke wanted his and Ruth's book to capture that energy. "We tried to set a myth as if it were crime fiction...what if we could channel our inner Jim Thompson?" 

Marvel's Moon Knight will premiere on Disney+ in 2022. Meadowlark is available to purchase now