While many people would probably think an actor would be crazy to turn down a role from a studio as popular as Marvel Entertainment, it’s a thought that actually crossed Oscar Isaac’s mind when he was given a chance to play the title character in the Disney+ series Moon Knight.
During a recent roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Isaac discussed his career and the difficult decisions he’s had to make about the path he wanted to carve out for himself in the industry. He was joined by fellow actors Samuel L. Jackson (The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey), Michael Keaton (Dopesick), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Brian Cox (Succession), and Quincy Isaiah (Winning Time).
During their conversation, Isaac said that early in his career, acting for him was like a “fix” – something he had to do. “The biggest window in my life as an actor has been wanting to get opportunities – wanting someone to say yes,” Isaac said. “It’s been a very small window of being able to say no. It takes building those synapses to chemically be able to say no in my brain and not feel like I’m destroying my life in some way.”
One of those projects he thought about saying no to was Moon Knight. When Keaton told a story about his time working on the 1989 film Batman, he mentioned that both he and his co-star Jack Nicholson realized that if the superhero movie failed, it would “be a hard recovery” for those involved. Isaac chimed in and said it’s the same way he felt about Moon Knight.
“Is this the stupidest thing?” Oscar Isaac said he wondered. “Is this a smart thing? Should I do it? What does this mean? It was such a mental torment just to make a decision.”
Even with incredible films already under his belt, like Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year, and Ex Machina, he worried that a big misstep could hurt his career.
“Man, if this [doesn’t work], I’m gonna go down hard with this thing – the level of embarrassment,” he said. “Once you throw on a cape…it’s like, ‘Holy, shit. I’m really doing it and committing totally to doing it.’”
Based on the critical acclaim the series received, it seems that Isaac made the correct choice when he bet on himself and how he would fare in the high-risk, high-reward superhero genre.