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Gregory Middleton Reveals How Watchmen Helped Him Land The Moon Knight Gig - Exclusive

While it's not always a prerequisite for a filmmaker to have experience in the superhero films and TV shows to land a gig in the genre, award-winning cinematographer Gregory Middleton said it certainly helped when it came to being hired as one of the directors of photography for the Marvel Studios miniseries "Moon Knight."

Middleton works exclusively with executive producer and director Mohamed Diab on "Moon Knight," serving as cinematographer for Episodes 1, 3, 5 and 6 of the Disney+ series, while Andrew Droz Palermo is the DP on Episodes 2 and 4 for directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Middleton has more than 60 credits over the past 30 years in several different genres, and he believes his cinematography experience on such hard-hitting dramatic series as "The Killing," as well a half-dozen episodes on the epic fantasy series "Game of Thrones" both contributed to him landing "Moon Knight" as well.

The cinematographer said that his work on "Watchmen" was most crucial, though, to taking his first trip to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, "Moon Knight" is about a character, Marc Spector-Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), who is struggling with dissociative identity disorder, and Middleton believes the series has the same sort of depth and complexity as the four episodes he shot for "Watchmen" in 2019.

Exploring complex characters

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Middleton said there was one particular episode of "Watchmen" that caught Diab's attention and set his path to "Moon Knight."

"The 'Watchmen' show is what brought me to their attention the most, because [of] the mind-bending element — especially Episode 6 — it was on a journey through somebody's fever dream," Middleton said. "That was one of the reasons I was on Mohamed's short list of people to interview for the project."

Middleton's work on "Watchmen," which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award, was only the icebreaker. Middleton found out that his work on "Game of Thrones" and "The Killing" proved to be just as instrumental in his work on the superhero series because they're character studies.

"All three of them — the most interesting part about them is that they're character driven," Middleton observed. "The plot comes out of character. 'Moon Knight,' in particular, is about someone who is essentially reconciling two different parts of himself. It's an entire plot that comes out of character."

In "Moon Knight," Ethan Hawke stars the titular character's adversary, Arthur Harrow, who faces a similar dilemma to Marc-Steven because he was once the avatar for Khonshu (voice of F. Murray Abraham), the Egyptian god of the moon. Free of the Moon Knight mantle, Arthur is seeking to unleash the power of the Egyptian god Ammit and indiscriminately rid the world of all those he deems evil.

"It's very smart with both Ethan's help and the writers, and Mohamed, and Justin and Aaron, to wrap Ethan's character into another fold of that," Middleton said. "Being a former avatar, he's a cautionary tale, and I'm really excited about stories that come from that because drama is about understanding people as much as telling a story. If that is part of the engine that drives the story, usually it's much more engaging."

"Moon Knight" is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with the series finale dropping on Wednesday, May 4.