Details about Marvel Studios’ 'Moon Knight' by Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab revealed

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Mar 2022

Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab was in attendance alongside the cast and crew during the press conference Monday about his upcoming TV mini-series Moon Knight expected to premiere on Disney Plus later this month.

Moon Night

The virtual press conference for the upcoming TV mini-series was organised by Marvel Studios with the attendance of Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab who directed episodes 1, 3, 5 and 6 and is also the co-executive producer of the whole series.

The conference was also attended by Justine Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who codirected episodes 2 and 4 and executive producers, Kevin Feige and Grant Curtis. The attendees also included actors Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke, and Bahraini-born actress May Calamawy.

The series is set to premiere on 30 March on Disney Plus.

The first trailer for the series was release in January. The trailer was viewed over 17 million times in the first 24 hours and has reached over 30 million views to date.

As revealed during the conference, the series was shot in different locations which apart of the USA’s California and Georgia, also includes Hungary, Slovenia and Pinewood Studios in UK.

A number of extensive scenes were also shot in the Jordanian desert, a fact that Ethan Hawke considers to have “elevated” the show. He added that the Jordanian desert reminded him of Lawrence of Arabia, a 1962 British epic historical drama, shot between Jordan, Morocco and Spain. The iconic film saw the international breakthrough of the Egyptian actor Omar Sharif (portraying Sherif Ali) who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and won two Golden Globe awards in the same year for his role.

During the Marvel’s press conference, Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab spoke about his eagerness to include an Egyptian identity as a key component of the show. He explained that, very often, Egyptian culture is “exoticized and dehumanized,” a perspective he wished to change through Moon Knight.

According to Diab, despite the serious tone of the series, he managed to fuse Egyptian humour into it. Some of Moon Knight’s jokes are reminiscent of the director’s native culture yet also remain intelligible to global viewers. Diab underlines that in this process he was well supported by Oscar Isaac, an American actor in the leading role of Marc Spector, Moon Knight (aka Steven Grant).

Isaac’s multilayered role includes shifting between the characters. As mercenary Marc Spector, he harnesses the power of the ancient Egyptian gods, before he becomes British person Steven Grant. The latter character required that Isaac adopts a British accent, yet as revealed during the press conference, he found his own unique accent suitable for the character.

One of the most successful characters of Marvel Studios,  a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, Moon Knight was created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin in the 1970s.

This is the Egyptian director's first cooperation with the US Marvel Studios and Disney Plus, in a six-episode series where the main character becomes the human avatar whose life is saved by the Ancient Egyptian Moon God Khonshu.

Egyptian scriptwriter and director Diab's directorial debut was Cairo 6,7,8 (2010) which was released weeks prior to the Egyptian revolution (2011). It won Silver Hugo for Best Feature Film and Best International Feature at the Chicago International Film Festival 2011. In the same festival actor Maged El Kedwani won Silver Hugo for Best Actor. Among other scores of the film were Best Actor for El Kedwani and Best Actress for Bushra at the Dubai International Film Festival 2010, and Best Film at the Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival 2011.

Diab's important breakthrough came with Clash (Eshtebak, 2016) which he directed and co-wrote together with Khaled Diab. The drama which plot takes place during the Egyptian Revolution was Egypt's submission in the Oscars' foreign-language film category in 2017. Despite the film’s exclusion from the final list of nominees, Diab still gained much recognition for his work.

The film has won numerous awards including Best Cinematography (Ahmed Gabr), Best Editing (Ahmed Hafez), FACC Award (Mohamed Diab) and Tanit d'Argent for Best Feature Film at the Carthage Film Festival 2016. Clash was also in an official selection at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, in the Un Certain Regard category. In Cannes it won the Arab Critics Award.

He also wrote the blockbuster Egyptian franchise El Gezeira (The Island) films which are the highest grossing Egyptian and Arabic films of all times. 

Diab's latest feature is titled Amira (2021), which he wrote and directed stars Ali Suliman, Saleh Bakri and Ziad Bakri. The film won a Special Mention at Carthage Film Festival, Interfilm award and Lanterna Magical award at Venice Film Festival, among other wins and dozens of nominations for the film and the director.

In 2017, Diab had announced that he will be an official member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences joining the Writer Branch, one of the 17 branches of the academy that range from actors and directors to costume designers, as well as the broader Members-at-Large and Associates categories.

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