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Of all the squares we had on our Marvel bingo boards this year, Moon Knight being based on Karl Pilkington was certainly not one of them.
The series featuring, Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac in the titular role, launched on Disney+ yesterday (30 March) and has so far received a positive response. However, there was one detail that fans found hard to overlook. Why was Isaac, a Guatemalan native who speaks with a smooth American accent, talking with a stilted London lilt? He’s not terrible at it, but it was still odd to see him speak in a voice which was distinctly not his own.
If you want to see Isaac and Moon Knight co-star Ethan Hawke give their best celebrity impressions, including British accents, then check out the video below.
It turns out it was Isaac himself who decided on the accent and character for this part of Moon Knight’s personality. The series is set in London, and while Marvel was happy for Isaac to play an American expat living in the city, Isaac saw it as a chance to pay homage to his favourite British comedies.
In an interview with The Verge Isaac explained the thought process that went into the decision. “I thought, ‘There’s an opportunity here to maybe make something. What if we make him English? Like, what if Peter Sellars was approached with a Marvel project? What would he do?’”
Isaac pointed to Karl Pilkington in An Idiot Abroad as one of his main inspirations. A long-time friend of comedians Stephen Merchant and Rick Gervais, the series saw the pair send Pilkington on extraordinary adventures around the world. However, Manchester-born Pilkington is known for his no-nonsense attitude, and the humour of the show is often derived from him seeing the mundane in what others find amazing.
Isaac said he chose Pilkington “for his sense of humour where you can’t tell if he knows he’s being funny,” adding: “I started listening to accents that are kind of, you know, northeast London, and then just committed to that and found this… It wasn’t just about accent, but it was also about his timidness, but also wanting to connect with people, but not quite knowing how.”
Finally, a superhero with a complete misunderstanding of social norms and a child-like sense of utter gullibility.
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