20 years ago, Grant Curtis was working on a little Marvel movie trilogy… it was a series of films called Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3. Now, after nearly two decades of stepping away from Marvel movie making, Curtis is back in the marvelous role of executive producer on Moon Knight. In a ComicBook.com interview where he flexed his deep knowledge of Moon Knight and the character’s Marvel Comics origins, Curtis opened up about returning to Marvel work. Worth nothing; the return came at the same time as Spider-Man director Sam Raimi coming back for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Tobey Maguire reprising his role for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
“The change is not a lot, ’cause I will say this and I know you know this, whether it was Spider-Man, whether it’s Iron Man. whether it’s Guardians of the Galaxy, I think one of the true geniuses that is Kevin Feige, is all of these Marvel stories are anchored in intense character explorations and that’s what makes these unique,” Curtis explained. “That’s what makes them so good. All this incredible spectacle gets added afterwards and it’s an incredible journey, incredible ride. Marvel is truly at the top of their game. But I think, you know, that’s why there’s also there’s always a freshness, but there’s always a familiarity because everything is anchored in character.”
While Curtis is now praising Feige for overseeing the creative processes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a way which puts characters first (something Moon Knight star Ethan Hawke echoed in the advice he received from Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson), the executive producer has seen this before on another massively successful franchise.
“So, the stuff we were doing on Spider-Man, man, I took a lot of stuff that I learned from Sam [Raimi], applied it to Moon Knight,” Curtis said. “You know, it’s always character-first. Sam was always saying, ‘If you don’t care about Peter Parker, you’re not gonna soar with him through the caverns of New York.’ Same thing with Marc Spector, with Steven Grant, with Moon Knight. If you don’t care about Marc Spector and Steven Grant, you’re not gonna really care what happens to Moon Knight. And so you just take that journey and those learnings from Sam, from Kevin, from storytellers at the top of their game, from Lou [D’Esposita], Victoria [Alonso], Brad [Winderbaum] and obviously the great actors like Tobey Maguire and then Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy. Man, for me, I feel blessed. Lightning struck twice. Spider-Man, Moon Knight, I’ll take ’em both.”
Curtis is quick to point out that himself, Raimi, and Maguire would never share secrets as the Marvel NDA requires them to keep their mouths shut. That said, he’s very excited to see Raimi’s work with the Strange sequel later this year. A Marvel fan at his core, Curtis has a deep knowledge of the comic books which are inspiring the Marvel Cinematic Universe which includes a vast understanding of Moon Knight‘s books.
“We were going back to 1975 and Werewolf by Night ’cause, you know, that’s where he got launched in issues 32 and 33 and then bounced around in some Marvel IP, which we took a look at in the next five years until 1980, he got his own comic,” Curtis explained. “And then we looked at 1980 on. Read every comic. And I think what we were really focusing on when we were starting in the writer’s room of Moon Knight is not necessarily one particular issue, or one particular run. We were starting to single out, what are the themes and the tones that are consistent throughout Moon Knight’s journey through the decades. And once you start looking at that, you start picking up on, you know, the very Indiana Jones-esque globetrotting action adventure. You do start to pick up on the very, very intense character study that the Moon Knight comics are. You do start to realize that in the Moon Knight comic, more than others, sometimes, things go bump in the night. It’s a little bit spookier. It’s a little bit darker.”
With all of that darkness and potential for scares, Curtis also finds lighter moments of levity. “You do start to pick up on the humor that is inherent in the Moon Knight comics, which is obviously inherent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” he said. “But we started to look at those themes and tones. And that’s really when the story started to form itself.”
Are you excited to see Moon Knight? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram! Moon Knight premieres its first episode on Disney+ on Wednesday.