Marvel Studios: Assembled (2021) s01e09 Episode Script

The Making of Moon Knight

I know that you're having
a great deal of difficulty
being able to differentiate
between what's real
and what's in your head.
With our Disney Plus series,
we wanted to see more of the characters
we'd introduced on the big screen,
but there were also characters
who we wanted to
introduce whole cloth for the first time
on Disney Plus.
Moon Knight was at the top of that list.
Moon Knight is a spectacular character,
he's got an incredibly unique visual look.
He's a much more action-oriented character
in a way we haven't seen in a while
in the MCU.
Any time we think about
adapting a comic book character,
we always think about
what it is at its core,
what it is on an essential level.
And you can't really make
a Moon Knight show
without embracing that darkness,
without embracing that chaos.
In the Marvel universe,
Moon Knight first made his appearance
in 1975 in Werewolf By Night,
and he was very much an antagonist.
By the time 1980 rolled around,
there was such a desire from the fans
to see more of him, he got his own comic.
Historically, Marc Spector is Moon Knight.
He washed out of the Marines
and became a mercenary
and then he became the avatar
of the Egyptian God Khonshu.
If you look at his origin story
in the comics,
it's very Egyptology-centric
and that's what makes this
different and unique.
Kevin brought that up
really early on
in the development process.
He said, "If we can bring that
into our show,
"wrapped in a little bit of
an Indiana Jones-esque adventure,
"that's a show
that will sustain six hours."
- I just go at it fully?
- Yeah, go in the camera.
Like, it goes
It's gotta give me the effect of
- Okay.
- He's getting the vibes.
Mohamed Diab
is an Egyptian filmmaker.
So collaborative, so confident,
who came in and really had a point of view
with the story.
I wanna show you the last thing.
This is my daughter's art.
And look at this. It's Moon Knight.
Aw, yay! Oh, right on.
I read the first two episodes
and the summary of the rest of the show.
We just, like, delved into it,
me and Sarah.
Sarah is my wife
and a producer on the show.
And we had this 200-page pitch.
He came up with a pitch
that really centered on
the Egyptology of it all,
and that was something Kevin was
focusing on from day one,
is the Egyptology, the adventure of it.
It was in
that original pitch meeting
where we all knew that he was gonna be
the best shepherd for Moon Knight,
and you can see it.
You can see it as you
watch the show
There's so much visual foreshadowing.
There's just so much detail
in his thinking
that it really sent a current, I think,
out throughout
the cast and the crew and everyone
who touched the show to think in that way.
As much as you can,
when you're doing this
I wasn't aware of Moon Knight before that.
Sometimes that works
as an advantage or a disadvantage.
For my case,
I feel it worked as an advantage.
I wasn't attached to anything except
to make a good story.
One thing we realized
very early on is when you have
six hours of narrative,
when you have four or five countries,
it was gonna take a bit more
of a team effort.
Let's do it again, but drop it
Having Benson and Moorhead
along with Mohamed Diab
as our head director really paid off.
- Hey, guys. I'm sorry.
- Your XLR kit fell off.
- Sorry. Missed you guys.
- Missed you, too.
Our first introduction
to you was your movie Clash.
And Aaron and I watched that movie
and we both took a long pause
and said, "I guess
we're not filmmakers"
- "if he's a filmmaker."
I loved your films.
I know it's like a ping-pong right now,
I have to say the same thing.
But I loved The Endless
and I loved it before I met you,
and I thought,
"Wow, those guys have something."
So, when we got the chance to work
together, that was a big thing for me.
When we were kicking this off
in the writer's room,
one thing that became evident
really quickly was
Moon Knight does not have any current
connections to the MCU.
And narratively, it became really freeing
and allowed us to really play
with a character
that didn't have to abide by
any pre-ordained narrative rules.
The thing that's always been incredible
to me as a fan of Moon Knight,
is that every creator kind of comes in
and puts their own spin on the material.
We were able to kind of cherry pick all of
our favorite things from the various runs.
But it's also a daunting task because
how do you distill 40 years of weirdness,
into a six-hour show
and have it still make sense?
Having this huge history of
40 years of comic books,
you have so much to dig from.
And the best thing about Marvel,
they allow us to get maybe
the origin of a character
- and play with it the way you want.
- Yes.
For us, it was about the story.
Like, no one ever told us,
"Okay, there's something in the comic book
"that we need to put
because it's in the comic book."
We would go through every
Moon Knight comic that ever existed
and just trying to find particularly
iconic imagery that we connected with.
Usually, it was the more mind-bending
stuff like
the image of pulling the white off
and seeing the flesh underneath
on a white back Those types of images.
When Moon Knight
was first written,
Marc Spector was basically just a guy
who had different identities.
Marc Spector was a mercenary, Steven Grant
was kind of the millionaire about town
and then there was Jake Lockley,
the cab driver.
And depending on what information
Marc Spector needed at that time
as Moon Knight,
he went in different identities.
Over the years, the different identities
morphed into different personalities
and those different personalities
morphed into what we know now
as dissociative identity disorder.
I feel like comic creators started
taking really interesting risks
with the character of Moon Knight,
and that's where you started to see
things like his struggles with DID
And his mental health
really kind of came to the forefront.
And it took this character who was really
introduced as just sort of,
"Hey, he's a guy, he dresses up in white,
fights werewolves.
"What else do you need to know?"
It really gave him some complexity
and really made him a character
that was fascinating.
Moon Knight is a character that
for years in the comics
has struggled with mental illness.
The opportunity to tap into somebody
that faces those challenges
in a respectful way
was very important to us.
Because of all of those different
elements, you need a spectacular actor.
All right, guten tag.
We'd talked to Oscar
a number of times.
We knew he was interested in our world,
we'd never found the right fit.
And we weren't sure
he would be interested in Moon Knight,
we weren't sure he'd be interested
in doing a show on Disney Plus.
But he was completely into it
and he's been such a creative collaborator
and creative partner.
When I was approached by Kevin Feige
with Moon Knight,
I had never heard of it.
I collected comics
when I was younger, you know,
X-Men and, uh,
X-Force and a few others.
And so, the first thing
was to kinda do a deep dive
on the character and its history.
Going back through the comics,
it's shifted and changed so much.
It's so rich. It's pretty vast.
And so our job was to kinda
put a lens on the things
that we found the most interesting,
or that, like,
had the most dramatic juice.
And ultimately, taking the mental health
aspect about it incredibly seriously
and really committing to
what I really wanted to do,
which is a character study,
a point-of-view experience.
DID is dissociative
identity disorder,
which is previously called
multiple personality disorder.
At the end,
it's a fictionalized depiction of DID,
but I think we tried our best in the show
to try and understand it
and delve deeper into it.
The first thing I did
once I did finally sign on
was to delve into DID
and what it's like.
And there's an incredible book
by Robert Oxnam
called A Fractured Mind.
And that ended up
being like my bible to me,
you know, because this is someone
who didn't realize he had DID
until he was in his forties.
He just thought that he was alcoholic
and he had some trouble in his life,
and, you know, lo and behold, suddenly,
he finds out he's got eight different
people living inside of him.
They're eight different alters.
And so, that was astounding.
And the fact that, um,
that in itself is a kind of superpower,
you know.
How incredible human beings are,
that in order to survive
horrible, horrible trauma
at a very young age.
It's a survival mechanism
that kicks into place
where the brain creates other people
within his psyche
to be able to shoulder that trauma.
Everyone who will watch this show
and everyone who worked on this show
will have some sort of relationship
with mental health.
And it was on everyone's mind
the whole time on the show
to make sure that we tell
a story that's thoughtful.
It doesn't have to be about something
as specific. It can actually be,
teach you about just something
we've all experienced,
which is trying to care for and be with
somebody that's struggling.
Let's go. Thank you
Our head writer Jeremy Slater,
one thing he was very passionate about
is really making episodes 101 and 102
Steven's episodes.
I always knew that
starting the show with Marc
was going to be very tough.
Because in our show,
Marc is a very closed-off character.
We would be fighting an uphill battle
for the entirety of the series.
I really looked at Steven Grant and said,
"That's a story I know how to tell."
Once you're onboard with
who Steven Grant is as a character,
you're in for the entire run.
I have to give it to Marvel
and Jeremy Slater.
I think one of the most brilliant things
in the show was the idea of
seeing the world through Steven's eyes.
I loved that.
Starting with a mystery altogether, like,
episode one is a big question mark,
which is, "What's going on?"
- Right?
- Yeah.
And sometimes, there's a temptation
to get through it
so you can see
Moon Knight beat somebody up.
We don't see that
until the end of episode two.
It takes almost the entire length of
a feature film until you see
- the titular Moon Knight doing anything.
- Absolutely.
And that was really exciting,
when we actually had to play with mystery.
I got sent some early drafts
of a couple of the episodes
and I saw that the story had been
transplanted from New York to London,
but the characters were
still written as American.
But that got me thinking,
"Was there space to create
a character that would be a good foil
"for what you expect
from like a mercenary, tough hero?"
"Mercenary?" No, no. I'm not a mercenary.
My name's Steven Grant.
I thought, "Well, since it's being set
in London, what if Steven's English?"
And then I started coming up with
this character around the house
and doing it for my kids.
And my oldest son just really started
falling in love with Steven.
And he would laugh.
So that made me feel like,
"All right, maybe there's something here.
I'm onto something."
I don't know what this
has to do with Egypt.
They didn't have that
back then, did they? No.
They liked figs and dates.
We're standing
in Steven's apartment.
We decided to do an attic,
because it's recalling
a shape of a pyramid.
Two, one. Camera. Action!
We did his bed under a platform
as if he's in a sarcophagus as well.
As if he's, you know,
a little bit tombed in.
When we first started shooting,
the first two months was all Steven.
This process was one of completely
falling in love,
particularly with Steven.
Can you take this downstairs, please?
Will you, please, give me a second,
Donna, with your beetles?
I can't remember the last time that
I just loved being in this character.
So, getting to set, I just wanted to stay
in the accent and stay in character.
So, we get to change in an hour?
- Yeah, yeah, it's in your
- Yeah. All right.
- Same jacket.
- Great.
I wouldn't describe myself
as method at all.
I just didn't want to be shy about it
and I didn't want to be
second-guessing it.
And so, for me
it was more about just, like,
stay in it so that I can just trust
that it's always there
and I can put my energy onto other things,
like playing the scene
and doing the things
and figuring out the blocking
and all that.
Oh, my God.
For me, the tone of the
show is born entirely out of character.
We're learning about the mythology
of Moon Knight and the stakes of the story
through a character
who is as new to it as we are.
Oh, man! This is mental.
The show is a globe-trotting
adventure with a supernatural bent.
There's also
sprinkles of horror in there.
I think the fun thing about Moon Knight
and I think it's the fun thing
that really echoes throughout the MCU,
ultimately, when you do
peel back those layers,
you realize that it is a character story.
And I do think that is one of the things
that Oscar Isaac gravitated towards.
I'm losing it, man.
I've already lost it.
I just
I can't tell the difference between my
My waking life and my dreams, I guess.
Really, the key was Steven,
because Steven is sincere and also funny,
but also 100% sincerely terrified
about what's happening,
that that allows for
a multitude of different reactions
that all still live in the same world.
to blast you out of my head!
So, while he can be laughing,
or making kind of a joke,
or terrified, you know, of something
really horrible and monstrous,
at the same time,
you can really be dealing with
actual realistic childhood trauma.
And then at the same time,
a talking hippo is with you.
Because it's already been set up
as this psychological point of view,
I think you're able to go with it.
- Hold the door! Thank you.
- Whoa!
Fight-wise or stunt-wise,
Steven Grant is just a regular guy.
That's the most complicated things to do,
when you have to choreograph a fight
with someone story-wise
who doesn't know how to fight.
I love that because, I think even if you
didn't practice any martial arts,
or you've never been
involved in a fight for real,
you still can have
that instinct to survive.
You still have that instinct
to protect yourself.
I prefer cricket.
Another idea of Oscar was
to bring a touch of humor.
He could be a little bit goofy sometime,
but sometimes, a fight of being goofy
could save his life.
Jackal. Jackal!
I think Moon Knight costume,
the two characters that we have
are not like anything you saw
in the Marvel universe.
This is something coming from
the imagination of a person
inspired by an old God.
Mr. Knight is what Steven
imagines is cool.
James Bond, something like that, right?
A dapper gentleman that's
a trickster and strong and funny.
Oy, Steven, what the hell are we wearing?
I don't know. She said I needed a suit.
For Mr. Knight,
we have a custom three-piece suit.
We took references from the comic.
We really wanted to make sure
to bring in a little texture
and not have it be flat white.
So when the light hits it,
there's a slight lamé that comes out
to have a little brilliance to the suit.
It has a waistcoat with custom buttons,
the Khonshu symbol.
We adapted a sneaker because I wanted
to give it a modernized look.
Mohamed, our director,
wanted them to have some straps on them
in homage to mummies.
Meghan did such an amazing job.
And yeah, and it just became
this great joke in it,
where he's supposed to do the "suit,"
but doesn't know what that means.
Well, I do look sharp, though.
- All right, where is the scarab?
- Scarab, oh
What's this?
What are these little poles for?
The truncheons are used
both by Moon Knight and by Mr. Knight.
In the original comic,
they had them housed on the lower leg,
but for our purposes, because we wanted
the size to be a little bit bigger,
we just had them just coming from behind
the back underneath the cape,
or from underneath the jacket.
Pretty cool, actually.
Here's an interesting little tidbit.
Originally, Marc had the Mr. Knight outfit
and Steven had the Moon Knight outfit.
And then as Steven became this
very, you know, English bloke,
it's like, "I feel like
Steven's Mr. Knight. Don't we think that?"
And then they were like,
"We were thinking the same thing."
And so, then that got switched.
All right, time out.
That's it, time out!
Guys, let's all calm down, yeah?
We're all worked up.
Let's all just, like, chill the F out
and talk for a second
Take the body.
Take the body, take the body, Marc.
Moon Knight
has such an iconic silhouette
that we knew the ballpark
we wanted to stay in.
Cowl, mask, cape.
And then it came down to
what were the subtle cues we wanted
to play with within the wardrobe itself.
I think it makes
a really, really cool drawing,
and for me that is Moon Knight.
But once you actually
put it on a real person,
you start imagining how
an Egyptian God put SWAT team armor
on somebody, you know?
And it feels a little wrong.
The design of it was a process,
a collaborative process.
Everyone chipped in.
Oscar came in and he had
a couple of great ideas about it.
The costume was a big point of
conversation in those early days.
Ultimately, Ryan Meinerding stepped in
and came up with this concept design,
that as soon as it showed up,
everyone looked at it, and we're like,
"I have not seen that
and that's freaking terrifying."
All over Moon Knight's legs,
there are hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Ancient Egyptian language did not have
the word "knight" in it.
It didn't exist.
So I had to come up with
"The Protecting Soldier of the Moon."
Ancient Egyptian Moon Knight.
We worked with Marvel
and their concept artists
and also, obviously Meghan Kasperlik,
who's the costume designer on the show
to kind of take that concept on
and turn this comic book hero
into something real.
Yeah, the gold is lovely.
But, Kieran, can you move your arms okay?
- All good.
- Intrinsically,
it needs to look like wrapped bandages.
And in reality, that makes this
an extremely difficult garment to make.
'Cause obviously, each individual piece
is an individual piece
that's stitched together
and also still has to fit skintight
on the human body.
So we've had to
find fabrics with the right stretch
and then we've printed
the bandage textures onto them
and obviously dyed those fabrics as well.
We're trying to keep it light and cool so
you don't overheat when you're wearing it
and we're trying to keep it stretchy.
At the same time making sure
that the fabrics and everything in it
are robust enough to take falls
and heavy stunt work.
The Moon Knight costume
and how it formed,
it was a long journey
getting something that
I think everyone was feeling good about.
Just because we have seen
so many different transformations
in so many different movies
and superhero projects,
we tried a lot of different things
but wanted to make sure that
it felt like it was
a magical transformation.
But not something
that was coming from too far away,
we wanted it to feel like it was coming
from close to his person.
All right. Do it.
Take control. For now.
So much of it was
real layering of materials
that made this costume feel more real
in the end.
Even though I know it was a lot of work
for the team that put
the actual costume together
and for Meghan and her team
to actually get it done,
having new material
for us to photograph
and to see how it moved was critical.
You can describe Moon Knight
as being almost Marc's id.
Him in his most unleashed,
his most unfeeling,
his most violent, his most vengeful.
- I think we struggled with Marc.
We struggled
to find him on the page.
Steven is very easy to digest.
Right away, you fall in love with him
- from the third scene or something.
- Mmm-hmm.
And I was so scared from episode three
that people just don't connect to Marc.
Who is he? He's not as fun,
he's not as sympathetic, he's not.
The first time we ever met Marc on set,
it was like the air came out of the room,
'cause he was in this Not Oscar,
Marc in the scene
was in this horrible mood.
And so, you know, the whole mood
changed from bubbly, fun Steven
to "All right, time to focus, everybody."
At first I was unsure,
and so I said,
"I don't wanna film any Marc things
on the same day as Steven.
Can we figure it out
so we can do 'em on different days,
so I can keep them really distinct?"
Okay, here we go.
Stand by. And action!
I didn't do that.
I am protecting her from Khonshu.
You don't know what you're talking about.
He's got his eyes on her. He wants her
as my replacement. I'm never
You don't know what
you're talking about, Steven.
Just shut up.
And, by the way, Marc isn't
Oscar's regular voice, either.
You know, that's a completely
invented accent.
Listen to me, buddy. Hey, listen to me.
Get away from that bag.
Get away from that bag.
You're gonna get her killed.
Giving Marc a bit of a Chicago thing
going on
and then really delving into
the lore of the comics,
and giving him a lower register of voice,
a different way of standing
and finding the physicality
to make them very, very, distinct.
I started to find,
as I got more comfortable with
these two different people,
I started to develop the muscle
to be able to transition
between the two easier.
And then, as it went on,
that started to feel like
the real magic trick.
For the timing,
do you want me to say the lines of Steven?
So you know
how long to stay on the reflection for?
Beautiful, yeah.
There's a scene on the cliff,
Marc talks to Steven and then we go back
to Oscar like three, four times.
What the hell's wrong with you, Steven?
Me? You're the one
going on a killing spree.
What he did was magical.
I'm just changing the camera
and he's changing as a human being,
from Marc to Steven.
And Marc and Steven are completely
different and it's not easy for Oscar.
I suggest you stop listening
to that stupid pigeon.
Stay out of my way.
By the end, it was really fun
because you could just see,
in just the eyes,
you could see when there was a shift.
You didn't even have to change,
you could see,
"Oh, there's Marc. Marc's here,"
and that was really exciting.
I can look at a still photo of him
and know if he's playing Steven or Marc.
Nothing different.
It's just he holds himself differently.
When we think back on it,
we spent time with
three people in the same body
over that time period of shooting.
We all got to know Oscar
and then we all got to know Steven
- and then we all got to know Marc.
- Yeah.
When you have an amazing hero,
when you set the bar that high
with an Oscar Isaac,
you then go, "Okay, what do we do
with the villain?"
The fact that Ethan Hawke
came into the mix,
those are two dream castings.
Very different than
the discoveries that we've made, right?
Those are two very big,
very established stars
that we are very lucky to have
come into our world
and inhabit these characters.
She was betrayed.
- Was she?
- By indolent fellow Gods.
By even her own Avatar.
The Avatars, too?
Blue people, right? Love that film.
- By avatar, what I mean
- You mean the anime?
Steven. Stop it. Stop it.
I had seen some of Mohamed Diab's movies
and we were talking about making
a little indie sci-fi movie.
We were, like, about to start
and we got this job and I asked him,
"Can you wait for a year?"
And he said yes.
And it was just like we clicked, and we
felt like we wanna do something together.
I had been watching Good Lord Bird
and it was just, like,
a staggering performance.
As Mohamed and I were talking
about Harrow,
I said, "Hey, man, you know, what about
Ethan? Wouldn't Ethan be great?"
Mohamed said,
"Yes, I love Ethan. I know Ethan.
"I think that'd be so good. That's such
a great idea, we should do that."
I think it was the very next day,
I went down to my coffee shop
and there Ethan was.
And I had seen him around,
but I never had talked to him.
And he's like, "Hey, I heard
you talked to Mohamed the other day."
He goes, "I'm playing the Moon Knight."
And I was like, "I didn't know that."
And he's "You should be the villain.
Mohamed and I talked about it."
It was a very easy yes.
I mean, I never even
thought twice about it.
What's so interesting
about the comics
is they don't have a defining villain.
And that allowed us to try to really,
what aspects of some of the villains
do we want to keep.
What aspects really help the origin story?
You know, what I believe he started out as
was a shady billionaire, sort of.
- Something like that, right?
- Yes, that's how it started.
And then changing him to
essentially a cult leader.
But we talked a lot with Ethan
about how to make that real because,
you know, his zealousness and his belief
is for a world without pain.
And that's, for us, you know, a much more
interesting character than someone
that just has maliciousness at heart,
you know?
The idea in episode six when he goes
to Ammit and tell her, "Take my life."
He's not one of those villains who are
actually trying to get their ways because
"I wanna control the world."
He doesn't care.
Your Scales lack balance.
I accept the Scales
regardless of the outcome.
Most people who commit
terrible crimes don't think
They wake up in the morning and go,
"I'm a bad guy."
They have their reasons.
Hell is paved with their reasons.
And so, I had to come up with his reasons
and make them as rational and sane
and compelling as possible.
When you think about
cult leaders throughout history,
they very often,
at least start out extremely idealistic.
You see real, moral aspirations
in a lot of these people.
And so I tried to tap into
what he believes, and that if
You have to believe that
you're really helping.
We are here to make the Earth
as much like Heaven as possible.
Who'd like to go first?
I think that most successful villains
in the history of Marvel
are the couple of villains
that actually have some gray in them,
like Killmonger or Thanos.
People actually thought, "You know what?
You have a point."
And I hope Harrow is People are gonna
feel that about him. He has a logic.
Yeah, there's a logic.
And then there is also
It's very clear
that this guy comes from a lot of pain.
Comes from a lot of pain, and that he has
a humanity to him via that pain.
We got the pleasure of being able to
direct the opening scene of episode one
- that originally was to open episode two.
- Yeah.
We wish we could take
credit for it, but we can't.
We have to lay it at the feet
of Ethan Hawke.
He came up with this idea
that was a brilliant introduction scene.
That's why you hire Ethan Hawke.
You just watched somebody put glass
in their shoe and walk away with a cane.
And then, you know, scenes later,
this guy comes crunching down the road.
And you already know who he is,
you already know that
this guy's pretty messed up.
And it just creates so much mystery
and interest in who this person is,
and that was all him.
The idea of that cold open, we took it
and we played with it in the table reads.
I think it was Grant who said
we should pay off the shoes,
- it shouldn't just be an oddity.
- Smart.
Anything that is planted,
it has to have repercussions,
that domino effect of everything.
And a lot of things just, like, got born
- through those table reads.
- Yeah.
Hey, you see that, don't you?
Oh, yeah, I see it. I see it.
Grant Curtis, our producer,
I give him so much credit for this too
and Kevin and everybody at Marvel,
that they gave us the space to do this.
We would have weekly table reads
of the episodes
and just ask tons of questions
and get in there like mechanics,
you know?
It evolved into something that was
way more deeply philosophical.
It became super collaborative with Marvel
and the performers and you guys,
where we ended up kind of re-understanding
the character just from a character level.
We created, I think, an environment
that allowed people to
speak their mind narratively,
there was never judgment.
Just, "Yeah, what's best for my character?
"I'm throwing this out there,
bounce ideas back and forth."
And it made our scripts and our stories
and our series much better.
When on set,
it was how do we make this work?
How do we make this
the most honest it can be?
And we were all on the same page and so,
that's why I think it feels seamless
with Aaron and Justin, with Mohamed,
'cause we were all talking about
all those things.
I mean, it was all out there in the open.
May was on the table with us.
- She was a strong fighter for Layla.
Layla wouldn't have been
the way she was without May.
- Without a doubt.
- Uh,
she was like between her and Sarah
being the female voices in the room,
I think the two of them
and Egyptians knowing who she is,
the struggles that she had to go through.
Casting Layla wasn't easy
because I knew from the beginning
that it's not just a role,
it represents a whole group of people,
around the world.
I love May as an actress,
but it was very important for me
as an Arab to find someone
who can represent us.
- So no one's gonna be here?
- Yeah, you wanna just be giving
I didn't really know anything
about the role before I took it on.
She was Egyptian and that for me
was a very exciting thing to portray
in a Marvel production.
And then as time went by and I started
to figure out more about her
and I found out her, like,
trajectory and journey,
that became even more exciting.
Mohamed went for actors that I think
he just intuitively know commit,
just commit fully
and are not afraid to look silly doing it
or, you know, whatever it takes.
At every turn, she was completely game
and also had wonderful ideas
about this character
and about giving her a real voice.
Just so you know,
I'm not here to help you.
I'm here for me and for everyone else
who would die if Harrow succeeds.
I struggled a lot in the beginning.
As like quite a vulnerable person,
I had this idea of, like,
Layla has to be really strong
and she doesn't have feelings
and I would get really insecure
when I'd, like, crack or cry
or feel a bit emotional.
But this is just kind of a real person
and it was important for me
to show all those sides of a woman.
Every time I learn something new
about you,
I think, "That's it. There can't possibly
be any secrets left between us."
And then something else pops up,
and it's like I've not known you at all.
Yeah, you haven't.
You don't.
I loved doing episode four
because I feel like Layla
got a lot of space
for us to see what she's going through,
like, internally
sort of be manifested
through the experience in the tomb.
The scene with Harrow
felt like a play on the day
because we were so spread apart
that there were two cranes filming us.
We did all of our close ups at the
same time, which was really incredible.
You handled that beautifully.
Why do all men like you
feel it necessary to be
so condescending?
It was really important
for me to have Layla
not just to be, like,
serving a man's journey.
Are you done?
Whether it's her father
or her lover or whatnot,
I feel like she's discovering herself,
which is the biggest thing.
I do hope you find closure.
So this is our Cairo set.
It's a very big day for us.
We have 255 extras working.
There's 55 picture cars
circling through there,
along with Oscar and May walking
through the streets of Cairo.
And action!
When I got on the Cairo streets,
I was so overwhelmed.
I had actual anxiety, which is
I feel that there sometimes
just because there's so much going on.
One of the most
interesting things was
creating downtown Cairo in Budapest.
We built a big backlot area
that's about four or five blocks of Cairo
with the green screen behind
which will be the pyramid.
Mohamed wanted to make sure
that if we weren't going to film in Egypt,
we were going to have Egypt
replicated to a T.
I'll tell you something
that pisses people in Egypt.
The pyramids, it's always
in the middle of the desert.
It has a side that is
in the desert,
and the other side
is in the center of the city.
So it was very important for me
to portray Egypt
as real Egypt.
We brought Egypt to Budapest.
Basically reconstructed Cairo here.
Cairo neighborhood down to,
you know, the license plates
and just even the T-shirts
and everything in Arabic.
And really, it brought me back
to being in Cairo.
It was really impressive.
Everything, all right.
I had tons of Egyptians, extras.
And some of them told me,
I haven't visited Egypt in five years,
and I finally feel home.
And they were just
very emotional about it.
Moon Knight is a gigantic production.
Probably the biggest production
we've done so far,
as far as just the overall scope
and size of the show.
We needed to go to a place that we could
get as many stages as we need.
Get as much backlot space as we need.
I knew that we would be able
to pull off practically
what we needed to pull off in Budapest.
We completely fell in love
with our production designer Stefania.
She's a character and a great person
and a hard worker,
but also just a genius, right?
I remember the day
she showed us that museum.
- Mmm-hmm.
- I was blown away like everyone.
It's a replica of everything Egyptian
I've ever seen in my life. It's, it's
She and her team, everyone, geniuses.
We are in the
Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
And we are recreating
what is supposed to be the
equivalent of the British Museum.
Egyptian part of the British Museum
in London,
with three big rooms
that we're dressing with our artifacts.
We made something like 140 pieces,
from the biggest one,
which is six meter and something high
to the smallest items
that have been sculpted and designed
and then recreated, yes.
Like jewels and small,
small, small pieces.
Because most of our story is
the duplicity of Steven and Marc,
those enclosed glass display
they were giving us,
you know, the playground
of reflection that we needed.
I can't believe it.
Oh, my days. We're inside.
We're inside the great pyramid of Giza.
This is our biggest set.
Probably. One of our biggest sets,
if not the biggest.
We're inside the pyramids of Giza,
and this is where the Avatars meet.
So it's a very essential place
to the story.
A lot of our story takes place there.
A lot of everything kind of
comes together there in that set.
So it was important for us to build that.
What we built practically
was about three stories,
as high as we could build onto the stage.
We are on stage six at the Origo,
and this is the set that we call
the Chambers of the Gods.
Here we are. Shooting tomorrow.
It's kind of scary because I've never done
anything like this.
You know, it's very difficult to do Egypt
because I think
it's so easy to become cliché.
You know, Vegas type of a thing.
I had two Egyptologists.
One from here, one in LA,
and a researcher.
You know, we can take license,
and obviously we did take license,
but in a respectful way, I think.
I wanted to mix the Gods
that are the Marvel characters
with the original Gods statues.
You know, the idea was that every portal
is where the Avatars come in.
The disturbance.
Egyptian Gods are very tall in scale,
and we didn't want to have
just feet and knees on camera.
So we brought down the faces
and the representative animal
on ground level in the temple
to have a more interesting interaction.
We will decide our best course of action.
Speak your purpose.
The detail that was there
and the sculptures
that we had in the Hall of Gods
was amazing craftsmanship.
We had a whole stone shop
of people that were just there
building statues.
That's all they did all day long
was mold and form and carve statues.
The Alexander the Great set,
the amount of detail
There is no motivating reason
to go in and take a closeup of it.
But if you did,
everywhere you looked in this chamber,
it looks so authentic. It's so detailed.
Every little painting on the wall.
We are in Alexander's
burial chamber.
This was one of everybody's
most favorite set.
We have some of Alexander's treasure.
His famous horse.
His personal shield.
One of the challenging parts was
to paint it in a way that was accurate,
not by just one painter,
but by multiple people,
which would have happened.
We contacted an art school in Budapest,
where they have fantastic young artists.
We put out several projectors
with the layout of the hieroglyphs,
and they basically came and they painted.
So it was a fantastic experience for us,
because for me seeing
younger people involved
in something so different
from what they do was
They were very enthusiastic,
and I think ultimately it's priceless
what they gave us.
What Stefania did with these sets
as the production designer
is just so important.
For me, it's not because,
oh, I can feel like I'm really there,
you know. It's because
I see an artist bring their top game.
I see them come in and, like,
make huge choices about the story.
There's like little Easter eggs
that connect to other episodes.
There's, like Amazing thought
has gone into creating these sets.
So it's like,
this person is committing fully
and bringing everything they have
to the table.
I wanna do that, too.
I hope that part of the joy
of watching this show will be
exposure to this amazing
Egyptian mythology
that a lot of people don't have.
We dealt with classic
Joseph Campbell myths
for years in the West.
We saw a Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
adapted version of Norse myths, of course.
And now really tapping into
the mythology of ancient Egypt,
which is so formative for humanity itself
and for storytelling in general.
Egyptian mythology is one of the oldest
and the most fascinating ones
in the world.
I think Hollywood has been
reluctant to approach it.
I was lucky that I was given
the chance to show that.
And I was lucky that the elements
of the story had that from the get-go.
We had a great team.
We had the Egyptologists.
We had Ramy Romany with us
making sure that everything is correct.
Let's start with
Marvel was very keen on
trying to make Moon Knight
as historically accurate as possible
for a fictional show.
They were trying to thread that needle
between historical accuracy
and comic book accuracy.
The idea of an Avatar
is an ancient Egyptian idea.
Every pharaoh is believed
to be the God Horus.
So every ancient Egyptian pharaoh
is actually the Avatar of God Horus.
Binding the gods into a stone.
Now that's fiction.
That didn't happen.
But ushabtis are true.
Every time you go in any royal tomb,
there are ushabtis
that would help the deceased,
the king or nobleman,
into his journey of the afterlife.
Those ushabtis come to life,
and they serve the king in the afterlife.
Filming in Budapest,
there's a museum,
and it's got
an ancient Egyptian collection.
And there's a little cabinet,
of Taweret ushabtis
and there's a Taweret necklace.
And that was really special.
It kind of brings home that it's not just
a make-believe character
that we're bringing for the series,
but it has a long history.
Also being half Egyptian myself,
it's great that I get to play
this ancient Egyptian mythical character.
Anything else?
- That's it. Let's cut.
- Amazing. Yeah, let's cut it.
Antonia is
another fellow Egyptian
Thanks, guys.
who the moment everyone heard her,
this is Taweret.
By the way, today I learned Taweret,
without the R.
- Whoa!
- Taweret. Taweret.
I'm just gonna have you say it.
I'm saying it and I hope I'm saying it
in the right way.
We're all learning.
It's a language that is not spoken.
- So we're all learning it.
- Right, right.
But she is the character,
I think, like
they moved the character
and created the character
visually around her performance.
I remember the VFX team
showing us early motion capture.
- Yeah.
- They show us her little test
and then they show the exact mannerisms
being doubled by a giant hippo.
It was hilarious.
This will really bake your noodle,
but I think you were just taking
a little time-out.
I'm afraid you're actually quite dead.
We talked about actually having
a real costume for Khonshu,
a real costume for Taweret,
a real costume for Ammit.
Again, I don't like telling
a visual effects vendor,
just make it look real,
make it look like real cloth.
I'd much rather be able to say,
match the way that the light reflects off
of Antonia's shoulder,
or match the way
the beads look on our Ammit dress.
And then, yeah, having a performance.
I mean, having that for real
was was one of the things
that I really pushed for.
Welcome, gentle traveler Travelers,
to the realm of the Duat.
I think they're using
really new technology
where I am not burdened by this kind
of motion capture suit anymore.
I'm only wearing my costume.
And then we have the stick,
where basically there's an eyeline
for the nine-foot-tall version of Khonshu,
which will be placed in later.
We had a full-scale Khonshu skull
that we had manufactured.
So we'd have reference
of Khonshu's head.
We'd have great reference
of Khonshu's performance,
'cause we could see
how he was moving around
and we'd have a costume for reference.
So then we would recreate that
as a digital character
and you get clean plates
and all kind of stuff.
But it was really helpful to have that.
Give it back, you fool.
Being Egyptian and being somebody
who's very interested in ancient Egypt,
I find that Marvel is taking a bit
of creative license with Khonshu.
But they're also staying true to, I think,
the spirit of the mythology.
You know, khonshu means "traveler"
in ancient Egyptian,
and he's the protector
of the travelers of the night.
He's the moon God, and he's there to keep
the balance in the universe.
Do you swear to protect
the travelers of the night
and bring my vengeance to those
who would do them harm?
There's that literal side
of Khonshu,
and then there is the metaphor
which is the embodiment of Marc's rage.
Kill him!
His rage at what has happened
to him as a child
Break his windpipe!
and his rage at himself
that feels that he deserves it
in some way.
And that he has to be a slave to,
that he has no choice.
You know, almost like an addiction.
You think you own this body?
It belongs to me.
The other thing is like,
is Khonshu just another voice in his head?
And these are questions
that aren't answered readily.
Every aspect of this show
has a duality.
Every person has a dual self,
and the story has a dual nature.
Khonshu has this Avatar
whose job is to avenge wrongdoing.
And then I am working for a different God
whose goal is to eliminate all wrongdoing.
I could make a very compelling case
that I'm not playing the villain.
It's possible to watch this show
and think that this human being
has created these visions
of his psychiatrist
who's trying to "aleve" his pain.
And he wants his pain
because his pain gives him his identity.
Because a lot of us
store our identity in our hurts, right?
And so he's turned me into a villain.
And so I've tried to create a character
that could be seen
from either side of the coin.
I liked the villain.
His "No tree may ascend to
the light of heaven if it doesn't descend
"to the darkness of hell".
I actually believe that.
This is
the mental institution set.
As the point of view of Marc,
we go and reveal a lot of other characters
and motifs and visuals that we've seen
throughout the rest of the episodes
and reveal in that point of view
that his entire reality
may have been shaped
by his experiences here in this asylum.
Or maybe not.
I think that's also what was so fun
about this, is the puzzle pieces.
You know, not adding something
just for the sake of adding
something cool,
but really having it be
thematically interesting
and something that has a payoff.
Let me out!
Let me out! Let me out!
Let me out! Please.
It's such a mind trip, the whole thing.
But then, to be able to add
these little, like, points
that reorient you back
to those original things,
it's just so much fun.
- Steven!
- Marc!
How is this possible?
When we got to that part of the show
when actually they're outside
of each other talking to each other.
One of the crucial things was
my brother came out,
and he would play the other character
whenever I had to do one,
so that was great.
He's a great actor,
his name's Michael.
So he was really there for me,
and so often, sometimes when you watch it,
I'm acting with my actual little brother,
you know.
So, do we You go next, or
Who is that?
why is there a child in a room filled
with people you've killed?
- Steven, look, don't go near him.
- Hey, little man.
What's your name? Hey!
Steven, Steven. Wait! Wait! Wait!
I will say that was some
of the hardest stuff I had to do,
from a technical level,
because sometimes
I'd have to make the choices
for both characters beforehand.
Rehearse it once with me as Steven.
Then rehearse it then with me as Marc
imagining how I wanted to react
at the time
and memorize the blocking.
And then have to do it all to no one.
Sometimes in a wider shot.
Know what Layla would be all right with?
- Don't. Just don't say it.
- I'm just saying there is
one hippo and two of us, all right?
It can't be that hard to steer this ship.
- And we don't have to actually
- Have to what? Kill the Goddess Taweret?
Yeah. Just find me some rope
or something
Or we can do what she says,
and help each other uncover whatever it is
that we're hiding, apparently.
So those were some of the harder days,
because it was just so
technically demanding.
Right through these doors,
for example,
we go through here,
there's gonna be patients,
and there's Crawley
probably about to yell bingo!
Oh, my God!
Oh, my God!
This is Taweret's boat.
We've been filming here all this week.
Taweret is guiding them through the Duat
which is the ancient Egyptian Underworld.
Now I don't know what you two guys
have been hiding, but my advice,
get in there
and show each other the truth.
Balance your Scales before
we arrive at the Field of Reeds.
I think that's what's so interesting
about Moon Knight,
is that at the center of it,
you've got this really complex character
navigating this emotional journey.
- What are you doing here?
- Hmm?
Come on, buddy.
You were supposed
to keep him safe!
Steven, let's go.
There's a feeling of a brotherly
relationship between the two of them,
despite the fact that they are technically
the same person.
And there's something
almost paternal even.
But ultimately this story becomes
about unifying those two sides to himself.
Why do you have to make me do this?
I wanna see what she did.
You disgusting human.
You do not need to see that.
You're not meant to.
That's the whole point of you.
I think it was just about being honest
to what the ideas and honest to
You know, what a lot of people
have to deal with,
which is really intense childhood trauma.
And, you know, how that manifests
as an adult.
Of course, there's the allegory
of the Moon Knight
and the Gods and the powers.
But really, and it's a line
that we found in five.
It's this thing
that you think is an ailment.
My other personality that I can't control
and, you know, how horrible,
he ends up realizing that
that's actually his superpower.
All those horrible things
that she said to you,
she was wrong. It wasn't your fault.
I shouldn't have brought him in the cave.
Hey. You were just a child.
It wasn't your fault.
At the end, Marc and Steven
learn how to live together as one person,
which turns out to be in the final fight
their advantage.
If you were to take Mr. Knight
and Moon Knight and combine them,
you'd have the ideal superhero, right?
The ideal superhero with humanity.
They sort of complete each other,
and that's the whole point.
It is a direct interpretation
of a healthy relationship
in DID with their alters.
You know, once they start
working together,
and how interesting would it be
to see a fight scene
where the two of them are morphing
throughout the whole thing
and actually complementing each other.
And also speaks to the description
of why Moon Knight
is such a worthy adversary.
It's because he's totally unpredictable.
I think throughout
the course of history,
the people who are truly benevolent
have forgiveness
as a part of their teaching,
that you still believe
that people can change
and they can grow and get better.
And I think what tips Harrow
into the fanatic point
is he really does not believe that.
You know, would you wait to weed
the garden until after the roses are dead?
A weed is a weed is a weed, you know.
It's gonna kill what's good,
and let's just nip it in the bud.
Even children?
And you're like, yes, even children.
And that's where you get into a fanaticism
that most of us can't go that distance.
At the end, it's about free choice.
Two ideologies fighting together.
One is trying to cleanse
the world from evil.
And the other one, "No, let's cleanse
whoever did something wrong."
It's about giving humanity a chance
to make its own mistakes
and learning from its own mistakes.
Had Ammit been allowed to rule,
young Randall's life would've been saved,
your family would have been happy.
She need only remove one weed
from the garden.
We must rebind Ammit.
Only an Avatar can do it.
Mohamed and Antonia came to
the makeup trailer 30 minutes
before we were going to film.
And Mohamed was like,
"Well, you see, in the Chamber of Gods,
"most of them, like embody the God.
So can you just copy Antonia,
"and memorize her lines
and then embody Taweret?"
And I was like, "Okay."
You've changed your mind.
It was so much fun working
on the physicality with May
as we were both playing the scene out,
and she was copying my movements that I do
when I'm Taweret and my intonations.
Say it, Antonia.
- Don't be scared.
- "Don't be scared."
I'm not sure it was always
going to be us two together,
but there's something so great about
the vibrancy and silliness of Taweret
being paired with Layla.
The show didn't start
with the Scarlet Scarab,
but seeing May and developing her
as an Egyptian character,
step by step, the idea came up.
Let's make her into a superhero.
We zeroed in on an Egyptian superhero
in the Marvel universe
named the Scarlet Scarab.
Traditionally, it's a male character
who goes and reappropriates
Egyptian artifacts from people
who have stolen
or gotten them by ill means
and returns them to the rightful owners.
We thought, "Man,
the way our narrative is teeing up,
"that lines up with exactly
what we needed for our show."
Right now, Marvel is the world
to a lot of people.
Kids, teens. To be part of that world,
it means that you exist.
- Mmm.
- Representation really.
I know this word now has been
thrown right and left.
But having someone like this
on screen, defending good,
that's the kind of story
that brings people together.
Would you say this fulfills
a childhood wish for you?
I feel like, and I'm going
to speak from my experience,
like, when I've seen Arabs on film,
like, it's given me so much permission
and faith that I also have a space
and a place to do that.
And I want women there to want
to express themselves through art
and to share their story
and to, like, get out there more.
If I can share that
or help one person feel that way,
then I feel like my job is done.
Here we are in Jordan.
Well, we started in April,
about six months ago in Budapest.
And now, it's my last day
and the whole crew's
going to be finishing up
throughout this week on Moon Knight.
And this is about
the perfect place to end it,
right where I first fell in love
with movies, watching Lawrence of Arabia,
I get to shoot scenes
on the same backlot.
The planet Earth.
Jordan was at
the very end of the shoot.
If anyone would have told me
in a span of four years,
I'd be going to do
three different projects
in the Wadi Rum desert,
I would never have believed them.
But Star Wars, Dune and now Moon Knight,
all shot in the same desert.
Wadi Rum, the real desert.
It felt like a big summer vacation
for everybody.
You know, we were out in the sun,
you know, right by the the Red Sea
and going up to Petra.
It was an amazing way
to end the whole thing.
It's over!
We're in a fascinating moment
of storytelling,
which is the form of movies is changing.
This is not a TV show,
it's a movie on a larger canvas,
and we're trying to aspire to approach it
with that level of cinema
and that level of quality.
It's hard to paint such a big canvas,
you know. I mean,
it's damn hard to make one good movie.
To try to make three in a row,
you know,
is asking a lot of the craftsmen
and everybody involved.
So the lift is big.
Ethan, I remember,
said to us very early on.
He says, "We're having a great time now.
"But remember, someday you're going to be
on day 80 and you can't blink.
"It has to be as good as day one,
"because nobody's going to ever say.
'That wasn't so good.
"'But they were on day 80. Poor them.'
"It has to stay.
"You have to keep that dream alive."
It's such a challenge,
and I salute everyone who's doing TV.
Especially on this kind of caliber,
making it feel cinematic.
Six hours of film.
Oh, my God, guys,
it was such a taxing experience,
but very rewarding.
And I have to tell you,
one of the coolest things
to get to witness on this job
was seeing something at this scale.
And the alchemy it takes for something
of this scale to become personal.
It feels like a personal story.
It feels like your prior movies,
and it feels like you and Sarah.
And I can feel the humanity in it.
And to have the structure
of the creative collaboration that we had,
that we had all those days together
in a room spitballing.
I think in doing that we were able
to create something pretty bold,
and I think that's the aspect of it
that I'm really excited about
audiences seeing.
I would never have guessed,
and I don't mean this derogatorily,
that this would be one of my most
creatively fulfilling adventures.
Because it was just like,
everybody was throwing
everything out on the table
and taking big swings on a major stage.
And that we had the faith
and not only the space to do it,
but the support to do it was just amazing.
There are new challenges
and new rewards
that come with making longer form stories.
We're keeping the endings
more open now, I think.
We don't have to tie up every loose end.
And when you create characters
as strong as Moon Knight
and Scarlet Scarab,
we can confidently go into the future
knowing that there's more stories
left to tell
and new characters
that we can bring in to tell them.
What the hell was that?
I blacked out.
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