Oscar Isaac Hired His Brother to Help Him Play Dual Personalities in 'Moon Knight'
By Stacy Lambe
In Moon Knight, Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest spinoff about a superhero with dissociative identity disorder, Oscar Isaac plays two characters, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, who inhabit the same person. And over the course of the six-part series, Isaac is seen as both personalities, who often engage one another through mirrors or other reflective surfaces, especially when fighting for control over their body. In order to pull off those complicated scenes, the actor said he relied on his brother, Michael Benjamin Hernandez.
“The first step was to hire my brother,” the 43-year-old actor shared when asked during a press conference about what it was like filming scenes where Steven and Marc are in conversation with each other. His brother, Isaac continued, would “come in and be the other me.”
“It was the closest thing to me there is on Earth,” Isaac said. “So, he came in and he would play either Steven or Marc and even did the accent and everything -- both accents -- and so that was really helpful to have someone that’s not only a great actor but also shares my DNA to play off of.”
He added, “Something that I didn’t anticipate was how technically demanding that was gonna be of having to, like, show up and decide which character I was gonna play first. And then try to black that out, give my brother notes and then do the scene and switch characters and then figure it out.”
For the actor, “One of the fun, I think maybe, if not the most fun thing about acting, is acting opposite somebody and letting something spontaneous happen that you didn’t expect. But there wasn’t really an opportunity to do that.”
Here, because it’s one performer acting out both sides of the conversation, “it was a challenge” to “try to find what makes it feel spontaneous and not all planned out.”
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time Isaac has worked with his brother. The two most recently appeared onscreen together in the 2020 film, The Letter Room, while the brothers first gained attention for their relationship when Hernandez interviewed Isaac about his Star Wars: Force Awaken role as Poe Dameron for the Miami New Times.
As for the accents used in the series, there’s one noticeable departure from the comic books, with Steven now being British instead of American. When asked how he came up with Steven’s distinct Northeast London style of speaking, Isaac said it was the result of “too many characters” in the MCU being in New York City.
As a result, they decided to make Marc “an expat in London,” he continued, adding that because he loves English humor, “there’s an opportunity here… What if we make him English?”
For Isaac, it was a chance to channel not only a great like Peter Sellers but current comedian Karl Pilkington of An Idiot Abroad. “Not so much for the accent, but just for his, you know, sense of humor where he doesn’t know -- you can’t tell if he knows he’s being funny,” Isaac said.