Oscar Isaac Describes ‘Moon Knight’ as ‘Psychological Horror,’ Details Character’s Mental Health Struggles

Isaac said that, while his character is prone to hallucinations, "the one thing that's absolutely real is his emotional journey."
"Moon Knight"
"Moon Knight"

This spring has no shortage of high profile genre television coming out, but “Moon Knight” might be the most anticipated show of the season. The Marvel character is so obscure that even star Oscar Isaac had not heard of him before he was offered the role, but the promise of seeing Isaac play a man with dissociative identity disorder who receives the powers of an Egyptian god was enough to get even the most skeptical Marvel fans on board.

Isaac has not been shy about the show’s experimental style, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said the “brutal” show pushes the boundaries of what is allowed on Disney+. Now, the cast and crew have given fans their best look yet at the way the show will handle Moon Knight’s mental illness.

In a new feature in USA Today, Isaac and the show’s producers were adamant that Moon Knight’s dissociative identity disorder is far from a gimmick. The mental illness is an essential part of the show, with Isaac saying that the series is “quite true to the psychological horror of not knowing what’s happening and the slow revelations of the truth.”

“It’s amazing that the brain has this survival mechanism, this way to cope,” Isaac said. “At a very young age, if you’re going through sustained horrible trauma and abuse, something that can happen in order for one to survive is the brain splits into an alternate personality that has no idea of what’s happening. Otherwise, you die because it’s just so awful. And that is its own incredible, kind of beautiful superpower.”

The character’s mental illness “makes him much more than just sort of a palette-swapped Batman clone,” said executive producer Jeremy Slater. “A lot of superheroes are defined by their villains (but) Moon Knight is his own greatest enemy in a lot of ways.”

While the character’s dissociative identity disorder should give an actor of Isaac’s caliber plenty to work with, the creative team is aware of their obligation to portray the condition responsibly. “Whatever we’re putting out there in the universe has to be ultimately good and uplifting and have a positive message about mental health,” Slater said.

“Moon Knight” begins streaming on Disney+ on March 30. 

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