Skip to main content

Ethan Hawke on His ‘Moon Knight’ Villain Arthur Harrow

Hawke joins the series as a mysterious cult leader with a connection to Spector.

Ethan Hawke talks to Marc Spector as Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight.

We’re a week away from the premiere of Marvel and Disney+’s Moon Knight, which stars Oscar Isaac as the titular superhero. Isaac plays Marc Spector, a mercenary with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) who gains supernatural powers thanks to the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu. But every Marvel superhero comes with their own villainous counterpart, and Moon Knight is no exception. Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Reality Bites) joins the series as Arthur Harrow, a mysterious cult leader with a connection to Spector.

Hawke discussed his new role in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where he talks about taking inspiration from infamous cult leaders like David Koresh. Hawke pitched an introduction to Harrow that sees his character lining the insoles of his shoes with crushed glass while listening to Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand.”  Hawke said, “I was always hypnotized by deeply spiritual people who were self-lacerating. You hear stories about all these saints and how they would wear hair shirts or whip themselves. So I always was like, ‘I thought we were supposed to love each other and be kind. What is all this self-immolation? What is that about?'” He continued, “So I had this vision of him pouring glass in his shoes and listening to Bob Dylan. And then I explained that to them, and they were like, ‘Let’s do that!’ And I was like, “Alright!”

Billy Bob Thornton did a similar move in his Oscar-winning film Sling Blade, where he reportedly put crushed glass in his shoe to create his character’s limp. Hawke described being influenced by psychiatrist Carl Jung, saying “When I started talking to Oscar, I realized how much he was investing in DID [Dissociative Identity Disorder]. He really wanted to fully explore this mental illness for his character, and I also realized how much that illness deals in dreams and symbols. So I started thinking about Carl Jung, and I started seeing Harrow as Moon Knight’s doctor. I started really exploring that relationship and thought, “What if Jung [went] to the dark side?”

Hawke also praised Marvel for the creative freedom he and Isaac had in their artistic choices. He noted, “[Marvel Studios has] tremendous faith and belief in the actor’s ability to contribute. That opening scene is a great example of [Marvel] using your creativity to help get you to invest in the show and to come up with original ideas,” Hawke added, “So I was really impressed by that. At one point when Oscar and I were rehearsing, I said to him, ‘You realize that they’re being so kind? They believe in us so much that if this doesn’t work, it’s our fault. We can’t blame anybody.’ But that’s really empowering as a performer. Yes, you have to work in their kitchen, but they’re going to let you work.”

Moon Knight premieres on Disney+ on March 30.

(via THR, image: Marvel/Disney+)

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.