Remembering Ethan Hawke's Comments on Superhero Movies in Light of Moon Knight Casting

Reports about Ethan Hawke playing a villain for the upcoming Moon Knight TV series opposite Oscar Isaac as the titular character largely excited Marvel fans, as Hawke has delivered many compelling performances across a variety of genres. Whether it be dramas like Richard Linklater's Before trilogy and the decade-spanning Boyhood or his more unsettling efforts in Daybreakers and Sinister, the actor will surely bring gravitas to the project that is sure to embrace a genre-crossing tone. However, given comments Hawke has made throughout his career about superhero projects, often sounding dismissive of their accomplishments, it makes us wonder if Moon Knight is set to be entirely different from everything that came before it or if Hawke's thoughts on comic book adaptations have changed.

Before Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Doctor Strange, some rumors claimed Hawke could score the role, largely due to having previously collaborated with director Scott Derrickson. Although, when discussing this prospect, Hawke noted that he was apprehensive about joining a comic book project because it not only came with acting duties, but also meant he would have to invest a lot of time into promoting such a project.

"It’s a bigger burden and so I think studios like Marvel and places like that, they wanna really make sure that somebody’s gonna play ball," Hawke shared with the Happy Sad Confused podcast. "If you have a reputation as a pretentious artist type, it doesn’t work in your favor."

During the conversation, Hawke wasn't entirely opposed to the idea of getting involved in the right project, more that he wasn't interested in being a spokesperson for the franchise.

"I am totally open to doing something like that, [but] there’s a problem that comes along whenever Marvel’s gonna approach Joaquin [Phoenix] or me or anybody who’s in love with acting, because there’s a tremendous amount of salesmanship that is now really important to a studio like that," Hawke admitted. "It’s a tremendous amount of time of your life where you’re working and you’re not acting."

Then, in 2018, Hawke expressed that, while there's nothing inherently wrong with superhero movies, he implied that there was a limit to their effectiveness and their subject matter puts them in a different category from other movies.

"Now we have the problem that they tell us Logan is a great movie. Well, it’s a great superhero movie," Hawke detailed to The Film Stage. "It still involves people in tights with metal coming out of their hands. It’s not [Robert] Bresson. It’s not [Ingmar] Bergman. But they talk about it like it is."

He added, "I went to see Logan cause everyone was like, 'This is a great movie' and I was like, 'Really? No, this is a fine superhero movie.' There’s a difference but big business doesn’t think there’s a difference. Big business wants you to think that this is a great film because they wanna make money off of it."

Whatever comes from these casting reports, fans will surely be interested in hearing Hawke's opinions about comic book projects and how his thoughts on them have likely changed over the years.

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Stay tuned for details on Moon Knight.

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