Ahead of the premiere of the Marvel series Moon Knight, which stars Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke, Diab told SFXmagazine (via Deadline) that he wanted to more accurately portray his home country for a sequence in the show. He said he was motivated to approach this more faithfully because so many Hollywood films and TV series get it so wrong.
“In my pitch, there was a big part about Egypt, and how inauthentically it has been portrayed throughout Hollywood’s history,” Diab said. “It’s always exotic—we call it orientalism. It dehumanizes us. We are always naked, we are always sexy, we are always bad, we are always over the top.”
He had particularly harsh words for DC’s Wonder Woman 1984, released in 2020. “You never see Cairo. You always see Jordan shot for Cairo, Morocco shot for Cairo, sometimes Spain shot for Cairo. This really angers us,” Diab continued. “I remember seeing Wonder Woman 1984 and there was a big sequence in Egypt, and it was a disgrace for us. You had a sheik—that doesn’t make any sense to us. Egypt looked like a country from the Middle Ages. It looked like the desert.”
The miniseries will introduce Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, and his origins to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since Egypt factors into how the character gets his powers, Diab said he was able to explore the opportunity to do sequences in the country in a more authentic way. “There was definitely room to play [in Moon Knight] but keep it as authentic as possible, in the realm of being fantastical,” he said. “Even in the original comic books they did a great job of researching and trying to make Egypt authentic.”
Moon Knight is set to premiere on Disney+ on March 30.