Ethan Hawke thinks movie villains are often built on “mental illness”
Ethan Hawke, 51, thinks that movie villains are often built on “mental illness.”
Film News reports that the actor stars as charismatic antagonist Arthur Harrow in Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off series Moon Knight and although he thinks that the history of film is littered with “mentally ill” villains, he had to find a “sane lunatic” for his role because the process was “inverted” for the show.
He said: “The history of movies is paved with storytellers using mental illness as a building block for the villain. There are countless stories of mentally ill villains, but we have a mentally ill hero, and that’s fascinating because we’ve now inverted the whole process. As the antagonist, I can’t be crazy because the hero is crazy, so I have to find a sane lunatic, or a sane malevolent force.”
Ethan stars opposite Oscar Isaac in the upcoming series – who takes on the title role of a Jewish-American mercenary with dissociative identity disorder – and explained that playing opposite a character suffering with a mental health condition was an “interesting riddle” as he tackled the role of the villain.
He told Collider: “That was an interesting riddle for me, to figure out how to be in dynamics with what Oscar was doing. Mohamed [Diab, director] was really embracing his mental illness as a way to create an unreliable narrator. Once you’ve broken the prism of reality, you realize that everything the audience is seeing is from a skewed point of view, and that’s really interesting for the villain. That was our riddle. “