(Spoilers for the first episode of Moon Knight will be found below.)
In the opening minutes of the Moon Knight premiere, Ethan Hawke’s character, Arthur Harrow, is seen performing his daily ritual of smashing a glass cup and putting the shards in his sandals, causing him to walk with a cane. It’s a brutal introduction to the mysterious workings of the character who Hawke partially modeled after Waco cult-leader David Koresh. As for where the idea for the painful scene came from, that was all Hawke.
In a recent interview to promote the Disney+ series, Hawke revealed that he was trying to picture what a big, full-page comic book drawing of his character might look like, and that’s when he came up with the broken glass idea. Via Variety:
I started really meditating on that, and I started thinking about spiritual people who go crazy, who get mad on their own spiritual pride, and how often that turns inward and you see that they’re secretly self-lacerating in some way and hating themselves. Because we all have sin, and the idea that somebody is free of sin is not really possible if you’re human. And so with the self-hatred and the turning inward, I had this image of him listening to a hymn while he put broken glass in his shoes, that he hid from other people.
To Hawke’s surprise, Marvel was immediately onboard with the idea. “Let’s shoot that. That’s a great idea. Let’s open the show with that,” Hawke said about the studio’s response. It was an exciting example that “these guys do want to play,” which is what initially attracted the indie actor to the project after being approached by Moon Knight star Oscar Isaac.
“They’re extremely active, friendly,” Hawke raved about Marvel back in September. “They do good world-building and create space for actors. If you want to play, they want you to play.”