Ethan Hawke Says Marvel Is Actor-Friendly But May Not Be Director-Friendly

Marvel Studios has never struggled to bring in A-List acting talent to its cinematic universe. Since bringing in acclaimed actors like Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Anthony Hopkins (Thor) to the franchise in Phase 1, the studio has attracted top-tier names for roles ranging from one-off antagonists to leading stars. Phase 4 has been no exception, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has welcomed in decorated stars like Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac into the fold. While Isaac appears to be in the MCU for the long run, his Moon Knight co-star Ethan Hawke's future remains to be determined. 

Regardless, Hawke has six episodes of MCU television to his name that he looks back on fondly. Speaking to IndieWire, the Arthur Harrow actor noted he felt Marvel Studios was especially kind to those they put in front of the camera.

"That group of people is extremely actor-friendly," Hawke said. "They might not be director-friendly, and that could be what [Martin] Scorsese and [Francis Ford] Coppola are talking about. But they love actors."

Accomplished filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola have criticized Marvel projects before, reducing them to amusement park-like attractions.

"I don't see them. I tried, you know? But that's not cinema," Scorsese told Empire magazine in 2019. "Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being."

Despite what his peers have said, Hawke pointed to Downey's authentic investment with the character of Tony Stark being directly correlated to audiences' interest.

"I think Kevin Feige had a great thing happen with Robert Downey Jr. and he understood that Downey's passion was a large part of the success," Hawke continued. "When actors are excited by a part, audiences get excited about watching them. Feige understood the algorithm there, so they're extremely respectful toward the process."

Hawke saw that same investment with Isaac, who he championed as the "best thing" about Moon Knight.

"The best thing about Moon Knight for me was Oscar's performance," Hawke said. "It's a gonzo thing that happens to have a giant budget — a pretty out-there performance."

All six episodes of Moon Knight are streaming now on Disney+.