Entertainment, Mental Health

Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight is slightly Autistic

Canonically a billionaire, Oscar Isaac switches up the vibe on one of the main alters.

words by: Alee Kwong
May 2, 2022

Oscar Isaac’s main role in Moon Knight is a character with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and one of the alters might be on the autism spectrum. In an interview with TheWrap, Isaac opened up about his process when it came to developing Steven Grant and how he deviated from Grant’s billionaire businessman personality.

 

“Once I got a hit on Steven [Grant], and kind of had a take on him, and I brought that to Kevin [Feige], and they were willing to go with it, you know, even though it was a big swing,” Isaac said. “You know, making him English, which is not how it was written, and making him maybe slightly on the spectrum, and just this very specific character, then it really — I don’t know, at that point, it really felt like we were making a story that was a point of view. You are in the skin of the character, and you’re seeing things happen the way he’s seeing it happen.”

 

This was a huge risk to take. Autism is one of the many disabilities that is misrepresented in the media and many of the misrepresentations paint people with autism as cold, emotionless people. When they aren’t being dehumanized through robotic portrayals, they are being infantilized and treated as if they have no agency over themselves.

 

Contrary to the context that the media has provided us, people with autism exist on a spectrum. There’s a saying about people with autism — once you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met exactly one person with autism.

 

 

Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of autism shines a light on traits that we seldom see when we are presented with someone who has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). In the Moon Knight series, we see that Steven Grant is very attached to his goldfish, Gus. Research has suggested that people with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to feel closer and more comfortable with animals than they do with people. Another common trait that Steven Grant shares with many people with ASD is his special interest — Egyptology.

 

After sifting through the early draft of the series, Isaac found himself needing to connect a lot of the dots on his own. “It was. It was a bit confusing, but also, it wasn’t clear — the characterizations weren’t really there on the page yet, obviously,” Isaac explained to TheWrap. “So, it was about finding my way in, not so much from a plot standpoint, but really from a character standpoint.”

 

He continued by talking more about how he ended up finding a starting line for his characterization of Steven Grant and how the challenge was beyond Grant’s individual personality. “On the outside, it’s confusing, but emotionally, it’s making sense because you’re with him,” Isaac said. “And I think that was the big challenge. It’s like, all this stuff’s not going to make sense. If you’re not with the character emotionally, then you know, it’s gonna just be a bunch of gobbledygook. But if you can really get the audience empathizing with them and feeling like they’re on the same journey, then we’re able to go as wild as we want.”

 

In related news, Moon Knight could bring us closer to Midnight Sons.

 

Photos via Marvel