‘Moon Knight’: Meet Marc Spector and Mr. Knight
Steven Grant : Mr. Knight :: Marc Spector : Moon Knight.
Episode 2 of Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight, “Summon the Suit,” reveals not one but two new characters, who are essentially different sides of the same coin. For the first time, viewers get a clear look at who else is in Steven Grant’s head, revealing mercenary Marc Spector along with some of his many secrets. Additionally, Mr. Knight enters the fray, as Steven’s version of Khonshu’s avatar — complete with a nice, three-piece all-white suit.
So now, star Oscar Isaac is tasked with not only playing two different characters across the series but two different Super Heroes as well. And clearly, if that’s not enough, sometimes he’s got to play a combination of them at the same time — talking, interacting, and bickering (though if you ask Steven, Marc is devastatingly handsome). As Director and Executive Producer Mohamed Diab explains to Marvel.com, “At the beginning, it wasn't clear to us who Marc is and who Steven is. Oscar at the beginning wanted only to [embody] Steven a day and Marc a day, never on the same day.”
This was all to keep things straight for Isaac, along with the crew bringing both Marc and Steven to life. But as Diab continues, “After a while there were a couple of scenes where he was talking in the mirror, and I told him, ‘Why don't you try [both characters]?’ I kept pushing him and giving him encouragement. All of a sudden, he did this magical thing.”
The “magical thing” is Isaac, who was now comfortable slipping in between both characters, was able to do it in the same take. He was moving from one character to the next simply in a blink of an eye.
“When the camera is just panning all of a sudden, he's someone else,” Diab notes. “Once he's Marc, you see him getting taller. When he's Steven, he's so approachable. Oscar actually wanted to go back and do [some scenes] again, the shots that he did on different days. He actually wanted to do it in the same take because he became [both characters]. In all of the times that came afterwards, that's how we did it. In those seconds, he's someone else. It's inhabiting a different character and being someone else, taking on a different demeanor and a different accent. It's not easy, but he did it. He's a genius.”
The directors of Episode 2, Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, came in knowing that Steven and Marc’s ability to communicate via mirrors and reflections was already established, and took it to another level as we see both characters have full conversations for the first time. It first happens after Steven has broken into Marc’s storage locker, and then later when Marc finally has control of the body and angrily yells at Steven about everything going on with Khonshu.
“The visual approach was really based around the idea of Oscar telling us like, ‘hey, I feel comfortable just going between these two characters at this point,’ so we were able to just do really old school techniques of just literally— camera goes off of Oscar playing Marc and on to— and now he's Steven in the mirror,” Benson explains. “We could just do all of that on camera, because he felt secure enough with it. It was something he showed up on day one able just to do. You would look at him without him even speaking, and you'd know which character he was.”
These first two instances of the back-and-forth conversation between the characters also establishes exactly what kind of relationship they have. As Moorhead continues, “They don't just have an antagonistic relationship; they have this kind of brotherly relationship where they bicker because they want different things, but they also care for each other in strange ways. They have a shared history. That was how we approached both the storage locker scene where Steven directly talks to Marc at length for the first time, and then where they really bear each other's souls in the broken pyramid mirror scene.”
Speaking of establishing characters, Mr. Knight has to join in the action, too — also giving Steven and Marc the chance to talk back and forth in this getup as well. Steven only comes to acquire this suit after Layla yells at him to “summon the suit” as Steven falls out a window, mid-panic. What suit? Steven doesn’t have a suit. So, he summons what he thinks is the best suit for him at this moment.
“Mr. Knight is Steven Grant's vision of a cool guy, a svelte man,” Moorhead reveals. “Being gifted the suit doesn't mean that you are gifted fighting abilities. And if you don't have skills, then you are going to lose this fight. We built everything around making losing the fight frightening and scary.”
While he’s got a new look and truncheons, what’s he going to do with them? Becoming a Super Hero is a little bit harder than just summoning a suit, as Steven quickly realizes. To really drive that point home, the second Steven lands in his so-called “hero pose,” he immediately topples over.
“We talked to Oscar about that exact moment,” Moorhead laughs. “He said, ‘I want to fall over.’ Like, land as if he’s a super hero and then just fall over. And that gelled the whole thing for us.”
“It also should be noted that falling over bit is one of many points in the show that was Oscar finding the best joke for the moment,” Benson adds. “Oscar is obviously good at a lot of things, but what people maybe don't know is that he's a really, really funny guy. You can tell when he's going to like a joke, because he's one of those people who laughs when he's telling it to you and you get caught up in the infectiousness of it.”
Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.
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