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SYFY WIRE Moon Knight

How Ethan Hawke pitched his creepy 'Moon Knight' introduction to Marvel

Ethan Hawke came up with his character's opening moments in the Disney+ series.

By Matthew Jackson
Moon Knight YT

At last, Moon Knight is here. The long-awaited Disney+ series launched its first episode early Wednesday morning, giving viewers the chance to finally dive into the story of Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) and his relationship with the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Moon Knight has quite a bit going for it right from the start, including a high-profile star to play its villain in Ethan Hawke. But Hawke didn't just show up and deliver the lines he was handed. He had direct input on shaping the character, including coming up with the idea for the show's very first scene. 

**SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for Episode 1 of Moon Knight ahead.**

Hawke's character, Arthur Harrow, is a charismatic cult leader with an interesting relationship to both Moon Knight and Khonshu, and Hawke has clearly put a lot of thought into the role. The actor has previously said he based his look and performance in the series on figures like David Koresh, but Hawke's contributions to Harrow also included developing entirely new scenes that weren't in the script. In a recent interview with The Wrap, he revealed that the very first scene in the entire series, in which we see Harrow smash a glass and pour the shards into his sandals before putting them on, was his idea.

“That idea came from me trying to figure out my character," Hawke explained. "And I was trying to figure out what was his secret? You know, a lot of deeply spiritual people you find out later — like St. Francis and other people — would wear a hair shirt or do strange things to overcome suffering, right? And so I thought, what if this guy secretly poured glass in his shoes? I don’t exactly know how the idea came to me.”

Once the idea of the glass got stuck in Hawke's head, it took shape quickly as a whole scene, which he then took to Marvel Studios. 

“I had this kind of vision. I pitched them that, ‘What if he was listening to Bob Dylan and pouring glass in his shoes?’ And the whole Marvel team loved the idea. I kind of thought of it as a single page portrait in a graphic novel, like, what would that be? And so we just shot it, and we weren’t sure what we’re going to do with it. And then they decided to open the series on it. But I think it gives the villain a little strangeness.”

As it turns out, creator Jeremy Slater and premiere director Mohamed Diab decided Hawke's moment -- in which Harrow has a kind of private devotional while listening to Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand" -- belonged at the very beginning of the series. Even before we meet Moon Knight or either of his alter egos, Marc Spector and Steven Grant, we meet Harrow, and see that he's serious enough about his beliefs to suffer for them. Don't worry, though, Hawke didn't go so far as to mimic his character's suffering. 

“It’s not comfortable, but it doesn’t cut,” Hawke said of the artificial glass. “I’m not that dedicated to my craft.”

New episodes of Moon Knight arrive Wednesdays on Disney+.