Moon Knight administrators Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, collectively often called Moorhead & Benson, can’t assist however marvel if Anthony Mackie performed a job of their Marvel Studios hiring. The celebrated directing duo have thrived within the indie house for the final decade, and their 2019 sci-fi thriller, Synchronic, starring Mackie and Jamie Dornan, is seemingly chargeable for their first foray into the most important studio system. While Moorhead and Benson have but to substantiate whether or not Mackie put in a great phrase for them or not, they’ve positively requested themselves if the brand new Captain America pulled a string or two.
“We actually don’t know if Anthony Mackie played matchmaker here at all, but we like to think so. We’re still really good friends with him,” Benson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Obviously, we made a movie called Synchronic with Anthony Mackie. And it’s just funny because I remember that movie getting released, and people being like, ‘You have an Avenger in your movie?!’ And we were like, ‘Yeah! We have an Avenger in our movie!’ And now, to be working in the MCU, we wonder, ‘Is this all the doing of Anthony Mackie?’”
Moorhead and Benson helmed the second and fourth episodes of the Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke-led Disney+ collection, and the pair are already teasing the daring decisions they had been capable of make of their latter episode. From this author’s perspective, their fourth chapter feels extra akin to the tv work of Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost, Watchmen) than something within the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to now.
“As you say, there’s a big, mind-bending swing in episode four that makes you reconsider some of the stuff that you’ve seen,” Moorhead shares. “Being able to do stuff like that — which pops up all over the comics, and also do great service to the tone and feel of the comics, the excitement of opening something up and seeing something you haven’t seen before — was one of the reasons that we wanted to do this.”
Benson provides: “When you look at the 50 years of incredible content that’s been generated for Moon Knight and Marvel, the best of it is defined by taking big swings, by being bold. So in that way, we were empowered to continue that, to be bold, especially with [episode four]. Visually, something that we were really drawn to, especially for that episode, was the [Jeff] Lemire and [Greg] Smallwood run [of Moon Knight].”
In a current dialog with THR, Moorhead and Benson additionally focus on location scouting within the Jordanian desert and why they had been discouraged from taking pictures at a specific location. Then they deal with their future at Marvel Studios as they’re set to helm the vast majority of Loki season two.
So did Anthony Mackie play matchmaker between the 2 of you and Marvel, or am I simply reaching for a connection?
Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson: (Laugh.)
Benson: We truly don’t know if Anthony Mackie performed matchmaker right here in any respect, however we prefer to assume so. We’re nonetheless actually good mates with him. Obviously, we made a film referred to as Synchronic with Anthony Mackie. And it’s simply humorous as a result of I keep in mind that film getting launched, and other people being like, “You have an Avenger in your movie?!” And we had been like, “Yeah! We have an Avenger in our movie!” And now, to be working within the MCU, we marvel, “Is this all the doing of Anthony Mackie?”
Moorhead & Benson: (Laugh.)
Moorhead: By the way in which, whereas we had been making [Synchronic], he stored his lips so sealed [that he was the new Captain America]. And proper earlier than we launched Synchronic [in the fall of 2020], we discovered he was not simply Falcon; he was the brand new Captain America. And that was such a giant deal. We had been like, “You never said a thing!” (Laughs.) It was unbelievable. [Writer’s Note: Mackie’s Sam Wilson debuted as Captain America on April 23, 2021’s finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.]
Your movies have a really distinct appear and feel, so how was the method of adapting to an aesthetic that Mohamed Diab established within the premiere?
Moorhead: You know what’s humorous, after we signed on, we had been so joyful to search out out that our aesthetic nearly utterly aligns with Mohamed. So that was a really nice shock. It was issues like letting the shot linger a bit bit, wider lenses, a dustier look. That kind of factor was precisely what he was after. So we sat down in a room with a whiteboard and a giant TV, and we watched a bunch of films and talked it out. It was only a bunch of individuals agreeing with each other, so it was truly fairly straightforward to match our aesthetics.
If episode 4 is any indication, it looks as if you had been nonetheless capable of do Moorhead and Benson issues whereas working with a serious studio. Was the transition from the indie world fairly seamless for essentially the most half?
Benson: Yeah, that’s by no means been a problem for us. Something we at all times say is that after you stroll previous all the large vans on an even bigger funds set, all the things else is similar. It’s the identical type of drawback fixing; it’s the identical job. And hopefully, your instincts are a great match for this content material, however in our case, we’ve been actually fortunate. It’s been a match made in heaven.
Moorhead: We used a Technocrane for the primary time. There was that. (Laughs.) But we shot it identical to we usually shoot our films.
Your hiring made much more sense to me once I noticed the aforementioned episode 4. Can you discuss concerning the massive swing that’s that episode with out truly revealing something?
Benson: When you take a look at the 50 years of unbelievable content material that’s been generated for Moon Knight and Marvel, the most effective of it’s outlined by taking massive swings, by being daring. So in that approach, we had been empowered to proceed that, to be daring, particularly with that episode. Visually, one thing that we had been actually drawn to, particularly for that episode, was the Lemire and Smallwood run [of Moon Knight]. And it’s humorous as a result of wanting again, I couldn’t let you know if something particular from that run made it into the episode, however at the very least on some unconscious degree, that’s what was oftentimes inspiring us, visually.
Moorhead: Story smart, Moon Knight is at its finest when it’s mind-bending, and that’s one of many massive the explanation why Justin and I jumped on board. As you say, there’s a giant, mind-bending swing in episode 4 that makes you rethink a number of the stuff that you just’ve seen. Being capable of do stuff like that — which pops up all around the comics, and likewise do nice service to the tone and really feel of the comics, the joy of opening one thing up and seeing one thing you haven’t seen earlier than — was one of many causes that we needed to do that.
Moon Knight is Oscar Isaac’s third high-profile mission to shoot in Wadi Rum [Aqaba, Jordan]. Did it’s important to reference Dune and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to keep away from any overlap? Or is that going too far?
Moorhead: (Laughs.) When we had been scouting, there was a location the place they mentioned, “Wait, no, that’s from Star Wars. Don’t do that.” Right? Am I loopy?
Benson: Yeah … I imply, while you’re location scouting there, so a lot of these places are connected to beloved movies that you just’ve seen. There was little or no that was off-limits to us in that approach, however I’ll say that as an Oscar Isaac superfan who’s gone to see all his films in a movie show, do I acknowledge a few of these places? Absolutely! Is it distracting? Yes!
Moorhead & Benson: (Laugh.)
Moorhead: I used to be watching The Martian the opposite day, and once I noticed that particular rock that they shot with [in Wadi Rum], it was just like the Leonardo DiCaprio meme [from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood]. I used to be like, “There it is!” (Moorhead mimics the DiCaprio meme.)
Decades from now, what day on Moon Knight will you inform your households about first?
Moorhead: It’s attention-grabbing as a result of it wasn’t a day on set; it was truly scouting in Jordan. They put us behind a automotive, which already was particular. Someone was driving us someplace, and we had been simply bombing down this freeway within the Jordanian desert. And our driver pointed to this physique of water out the window and mentioned, “That’s the Dead Sea.” And I had this bizarre thought pop into my head, which was, “I’m just a boy from Florida. I thought the Dead Sea was like Shangri-La, this mythical place.” Of course, I knew that the Dead Sea truly exists, however I by no means ever thought my very own two eyes would see it. So I bought a bit teared up as a result of I spotted the unbelievable scale of the journey that Justin and I had simply began on. I believe that was day three of beginning to work on this mission.
Benson: In fact, it might actually be on daily basis on this set. It was so particular, and clearly, it was such an enormous alternative for us. But there was this one night the place we had been taking pictures within the outdated world, and also you go searching and see all these buildings and statues from fable, whether or not it’s a gargoyle or in any other case. And right here we had been amongst that, telling a narrative concerning the nice myths and legends of our time. When individuals look again at this centuries from now, or a millennium from now, it’ll be nearly like the identical factor as us gazing one in every of these statues that symbolize the nice myths of our time. So the truth that we had been there — saying one thing considerate and respectful about psychological well being, because it pertains to fable and this stuff — was extraordinarily particular.
Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios parliament clearly took a liking to you guys. Can you say something about what you’re directing subsequent for Marvel? [Writer’s Note: They are directing most of Loki season two.]
Moorhead: Not actually. (Laughs.) But we are able to’t be extra superlative about how fantastic the expertise of working with Marvel has been. There’s nobody with a gun telling us to say that. It has been wonderful. They are the best collaborators. It can be bizarre to say that it’s like having a terrific boss as a result of we didn’t really feel like we had a boss. It was only a bunch of mates getting collectively to make one thing as cool as they probably may. So we’re simply extremely joyful that we get to proceed that. Of course, we’re nonetheless going to maintain making impartial movies as effectively. We’re going to be going backwards and forwards, nevertheless it’s simply so fantastic to mess around on this playground. Coming to work could be very, very good, and the persons are good individuals. They’re all actually sensible, and so they’re all simply attempting their best possible to do one factor: to inform a narrative very well.
Moon Knight‘s first episode is now streaming on Disney+.