Ethan Hawke Addresses Marvel’s Director Problem

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Ethan Hawke, Moon Knight, Marvel Studios

One of the most critically acclaimed Marvel Studios Disney+ series to date has been Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight. The show had a lot going for it, but at the top of the list was the legendary actor’s performance as Marc Spector and Steven Grant. He wasn’t alone, however, as another iconic performer came along with him for the ride: Ethan Hawke.

Hawke brought to life Author Harrow, Khonshu’s former Avatar and now a devoted follower of rival God Ammit. Viewers loved his performance as the Disney+, which the actor even admitted was influenced by both Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr. and Daredevil's Vincent D’Onofrio, as he brought a largely unknown Marvel character into the spotlight.

Many were surprised to hear how Ethan Hawke had signed on in the first place; many had an impression of him possibly thinking Marvel projects were beneath him. Thankfully, that was never the case. In a recent interview, the actor addressed some of the vitriol from famous Hollywood icons towards the MCU and also how, despite his work with them, Marvel Studios may still have a director problem.

Ethan Hawke Talks Marvel

Ethan Hawke, Moon Knight

Speaking with Indie Wire, Moon Knight actor Ethan Hawke commented on the viral comments from directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola speaking ill of the MCU, while also discussing Marvel’s potential director problem.

Hawke noted that “if people like Scorsese and Coppola don’t… tell their truth… who’s going to” actually do it if necessary:

“If people like Scorsese and Coppola don’t come out to tell their truth about how there are more important things than making money, who’s going to?”

He continued, mentioning how “[he] appreciate[s] the elder statesmen of the community reminding people not to set the bar too low:”

“It’s easy for them, but it needs to be somebody in the community saying, ‘Hey, everybody, this is not ’Fanny and Alexander.’’ If you keep reviewing these movies that are basically made for 14-year-olds like they’re ‘Fanny and Alexander’ or ‘Winter Light,’ then who the hell’s going to get to make ‘Winter Light’? I appreciate the elder statesmen of the community reminding people not to set the bar too low. I know it makes some people think they’re stuck up, but they’re not stuck up.”

The actor went on to compliment Marvel for being a “group of people [that] is extremely actor-friendly,” while also noting that “they might not be director-friendly,” which “could be what Scorsese and Coppola are talking about:”

“That group of people is extremely actor-friendly. They might not be director-friendly, and that could be what Scorsese and Coppola are talking about. But they love actors. 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. 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. The best thing about ‘Moon Knight’ for me was Oscar’s performance. It’s a gonzo thing that happens to have a giant budget — a pretty out-there performance.”

As for if the famous actor ever worried that he might get stuck in the MCU for a longer period of time, he revealed that “[he] protected [himself],” and that he’s “not interested in longer-term commitments” beyond his appearance in Moon Knight:

“I’m not supposed to talk about it. I had to sign an NDA about dealing with them, but I’m not interested in long-term commitments. I protected myself because I didn’t know what it was going to be. I just wanted to know what that sandbox was like. And it’s what young people are watching, so why are we going to sit there and tell them it’s not good?”

Is Hawke Right About Marvel Directors?

While Hawke doesn’t feel that Coppola and Scorsese’s comments make them stuck up, many might disagree. After all, it’s also awfully close-minded to not only completely disregard an entire genre (one with dozens of sub-genres) but to also disrespect those who like it as well.

At the end of the day, that kind of press will only make people less interested in whatever it is they have to offer to audiences anyways—no one likes to be condescended to, let alone blatantly insulted.

Thankfully, Hawke doesn’t seem close-minded about it at all and actually has some interesting insight to offer. Fans are probably thrilled to hear that he had a great experience as an actor in the Marvel universe as well.

His comments about the director's problem are a little worrisome, but they weren’t said with any definitive air. It’s hard to believe that Marvel Studios would still be around these days if they were truly that difficult to work with in regards to any part of the creative process.

Hawke may have hit the nail on the head when he mentioned that part of the criticism might simply be filmmakers not enjoying working under the constraints of such an expansive continuity that needs protecting, which is perfectly fine. It’s basically akin to a director enjoying working on one genre compared to another.

While Hawke’s Moon Knight character seemed to have died the last time audiences saw him, fans have their fingers crossed for the actor to somehow be able to find a way back into a future project. Maybe he’ll opt to try out the director's side of things.

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.