Oscar Isaac’s multilayered role on Moon Knight requires him to be many things — the vengeful titular hero, hardboiled mercenary Marc Spector, and then perhaps most challengingly of all, a British Man. But it turns out that last aspect wasn’t always the case. Well, at least in terms of where he came from.
In the Moon Knight comics, Steven Grant is one personality among four that Marc Spector experiences as part of his dissociative identity disorder. Steven is a Wall Street financier whose mastery of the financial market provides the wealth Marc needs to fight for justice as Moon Knight. But in the upcoming Marvel Studio series, Steven is a timid museum shop clerk from London… complete with Oscar Isaac laying an accent that’s perpetually about three seconds away from breaking out some Cockney rhyming slang.
The choice to do that was apparently entirely Isaac’s — and the chance to do so was in part the reason he returned to the blockbuster world so soon after Star Wars. “It was months of smashing my head against a stone wall like, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ I thought, ‘I shouldn’t do it. Maybe maybe,’” Isaac recently told Radio Times. “I had just kinda got out of the whole, you know, big machinery of Star Wars. And I was like, ‘I just really want to do character studies. And I don’t know.’”
But Moon Knight’s multiple roles for experimentation intrigued the actor, especially in the role of Grant, who Isaac began thinking about as this mild, meek British person — to the surprise of Marvel, which had not imagined the character like that in the slightest. “It wasn’t necessarily written that way at all,” Isaac continued. “And so I thought, ‘OK, well, let me see what Kevin [Feige] says about this.’ And so I had a meeting with Kevin, I said, ‘This is how I’d want to do it.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, OK, go for it.’”
“It’s funny, because afterwards he told me they didn’t know what the hell I was doing. And they weren’t sure it was going to work at all. But you know, in the end I’m glad we did that, because everyone says it kind of makes the show.”
From what we’ve seen so far of Moon Knight, it’s perhaps understandable why Marvel wasn’t sure going excruciatingly British was a smart play for Steven. But early reactions to the series are positive so far, and we’ll get to see just how much it makes the show next week, when Moon Knight hits Disney+.