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Monday, July 25, 2022 

Ethan Hawke defends critics of Marvel movies, but says they're actor-friendly, while Jessica Alba's unsatisfied

In an interview with Indiewire, actor Ethan Hawke, who played the role of Arthur Harrow in the Moon Knight TV show, was willing to defend the Scorseses and Coppolas of moviedom who're dismayed at all the attention lavished upon the Marvel movies at the expense of veteran auteurs and their approach to art, but still defended the Marvel movies simultaneously as a great place for actors:
Speaking of Scorsese, you must have figured out your own way to address the whole “Scorsese vs. the MCU” narrative while promoting “Moon Knight” this year.

If people like Scorsese and Coppola don’t come out to tell their truth about how there are more important things than making money, who’s going to?

Well, they’ve made plenty of money, too…

It’s easy for them, but it needs to be somebody in the community saying, “Hey, everybody, this is not ‘Fanny and Alexander.’” If you keep reviewing these movies that are basically made for 14-year-olds like they’re “Fanny and Alexander” or “Winter Light,” then who the hell’s going to get to make “Winter Light”? I appreciate the elder statesmen of the community reminding people not to set the bar too low. I know it makes some people think they’re stuck up, but they’re not stuck up.
Seeing how the Marvel movies (and DC's too, for that matter) have suffered their share of political correctness, one could argue they're made for 14-year-olds, in the sense that they're hardly offering anything sophisticated, and I can't seem to remember any from the past decade advertised as employing storylines like what Stan Lee crafted in the early 70s, when Harry Osborn became a PCP addict. Nor do they deal with serious issues from real life like Islamic terrorism, because that's become taboo in modern Hollywood. So what's the use of making these live action movies when they're little different from the Saturday morning cartoons of yesteryear, which didn't offer anything sophisticated along the lines of the comics either?
OK, so you’re on the other side of the “Moon Knight” experience. What was the process like for you to decide to take that on?

Maya would say to me, “Why are you sitting on the outside and telling everyone their sandbox is bad? Why don’t you go into their sandbox, play with them, and show them what you have to offer?” I said to Oscar Isaac, “We’ve got to go play in Marvel’s sandbox and try to do what we do. We don’t have to change Marvel. We just want to show them what we’re capable of doing and see if they find it interesting.” So we had a lot of rehearsals and worked on things a lot. We had a really good experience.

How much freedom did you have to bring your own skills to that show?

That group of people is extremely actor-friendly. They might not be director-friendly, and that could be what Scorsese and Coppola are talking about. But they love actors. I think Kevin Feige had a great thing happen with Robert Downey Jr. and he understood that Downey’s passion was a large part of the success. When actors are excited by a part, audiences get excited about watching them. Feige understood the algorithm there, so they’re extremely respectful toward the process. The best thing about “Moon Knight” for me was Oscar’s performance. It’s a gonzo thing that happens to have a giant budget — a pretty out-there performance.
When he speaks of "actor friendly", it sounds more like an appreciation of the paychecks received, which I'm sure are plenty big. And as noted earlier, the Moon Knight TV show is just as affected by PC as anything else coming from Marvel/Disney these days, so what great occurrence happened, exactly?
Did you ever worry that you might get sucked into the MCU for a longer period of time?

I’m not supposed to talk about it. I had to sign an NDA about dealing with them, but I’m not interested in long-term commitments. I protected myself because I didn’t know what it was going to be. I just wanted to know what that sandbox was like. And it’s what young people are watching, so why are we going to sit there and tell them it’s not good?
Of course they're obviously not going to say it's bad. Even if it is, and as a result, their promotions wind up on the laughable side. I remain unimpressed by Hawke, who'd do better to stick to indie film productions than waste time with this commericial machine affected by wokeness.

Since we're on the subject, actress Jessica Alba, who played Sue Storm in the mid-2000s Fantastic Four films, was interviewed by Glamour UK, and she's complaining the Marvel film franchise remains very white:
As a woman of Latina heritage, Jessica has spoken out in the past about how in the early years of her career in Hollywood, there was little diversity or representation for women of colour on screen; she struggled to land leading-lady roles and was often labelled ‘exotic’. I ask her if she’s seen a change in the industry in recent years?

“Yeah,” she nods. “It’s a business initiative for people now that they realise how much money they can make. It’s something they care about, which is fine. How they get there really doesn’t matter. You’re like, “Great. Now you realise there’s a whole group of folks that you just frankly left out of the conversation because you just didn’t even see them. They were there the whole time.” And I guess it’s the people in charge. However they get there, it really genuinely doesn’t matter. I just think more for the younger people who are coming up, who are going to be our future leaders, it’s important for them to see the world on screen, or in stories, in the dreams that we create as entertainers; it reflects the world that they’re in.

However, she still feels like there is a way to go, especially with some of the bigger film franchises.

“Even if you look at the Marvel movies – that’s the biggest driver of fantasy and what’s happening right now in entertainment, because it’s sort of the family thing – it’s still quite Caucasian,” she says before referring to when she starred in the Fantastic Four Marvel franchise in the ’90s. “I would say I was one of the few back in the day... And it was before Marvel was sold to Disney... but it’s still quite… more of the same.”
So she's ignoring the Black Panther and Luke Cage films and TV shows that were produced to date, and above all, putting identity politics above story merit. As little as I care for the Marvel movies now, what's so special about them that's not so special about an unrelated franchise that could've been produced, not unlike the action fare Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwartzenegger were once known for? To act as though everything relies on an already established franchise, rather than build new ones, is a sign of bankruptcy. But then, that's been the sorry state of Hollywood for years. And then, look how the magazine screws up the exact time Alba's 2 FF movies were made: in the 90s?!? They were made in the mid-2000s, and Rise of the Silver Surfer, to my best of knowledge, never led to any stand-alone film starring vehicles for Norrin Radd to date.

It's a shame action fare like what some performers of the 80s and 90s were known for was largely destroyed for the sake of these Marvel/DC blockbusters, because that's how stars were once made, including POC. Clearly, today's performers have long forgotten Eddie Murphy's own contributions like Beverly Hills Cop. Now, all they really care about is franchises based on comics, which is not a very creative way to argue whether there should be more spotlight on POC as the stars. In fact, that's another problem with how modern mainstream cinema's marketed: they practically got rid of the concept of stars altogether, for the sake of the PC directions they follow now.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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