Producer and screenwriter Hayat Aljowaily joins New Lines’ Ola Salem and Anthony Elghossain to talk about cinema, identity and the making of Marvel’s “Moon Knight.” The Emmy-nominated show stars Oscar Isaac as the titular protagonist, a man with dissociative identity disorder who finds himself sharing a body with a mercenary battling Egyptian gods.
“Portraying Egypt accurately was really at the core of what we were trying to achieve,” explains Aljowaily. With much of the action taking place in the country, the creators were determined to avoid the usual cliches. “That meant not going to shoot in Morocco and pretend that it’s Egypt, because then it’s not going to look like Egypt. And so we built Egypt.” The crew started with a vast empty set in Budapest and set to work. “And within two weeks, it was Cairo.”
“Portraying Egypt accurately was really at the core of what we were trying to achieve.”
But perhaps the biggest responsibility of all was the portrayal of the protagonist’s love interest, Layla, the first female Arab superhero to appear on television. “It was a big responsibility to create Layla, because we knew how important it was to young Arab women — to Arab women, period.”
“Having her was such a game changer,” adds Ola. “Just having someone with curly hair, that kind of resembles you, and you kind of can see yourself in, is such a big deal.”
Produced by Joshua Martin