Moon Knight is the latest installment into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although, after the series premiere, it feels like it could be a standalone series. The show introduces a new hero, played by Oscar Isaac, but he’s based on a character from the comic books. Layla El-Faouly, on the other hand, is an original MCU character who was created solely for Moon Knight.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Moon Knight Episode 1, “The Goldfish Problem.”]
May Calamawy stars as Layla in the MCU series ‘Moon Knight’
Fans only heard Layla El-Faouly’s voice in Moon Knight Episode 1, but she’ll have a more significant role in the series in the upcoming episodes.
Layla, played by May Calamawy, was romantically involved with Marc Spector before he ghosted her. As the audience knows from the premiere, she has been trying to get in contact with Marc, but he’s ignored her calls. Layla finally gets through when Steven Grant answers Marc’s cell phone, which Marc hid in a wall in Steven’s apartment. Oblivious to Marc’s existence, Steven is confused as to why Layla calls him Marc.
As Moon Knight continues, fans will see the original MCU character in the flesh. Layla plays a big role in Marc’s past, and she’s going to want answers regarding his new life. She’s also an archeologist and adventurer, so she could be helpful in Moon Knight’s pursuits.
May Calamawy reveals how the MCU character of Layla was created for ‘Moon Knight’
“I felt so much pressure in the beginning, and I was really intimidated because I genuinely didn’t know what would be the best direction for her, and I wanted to do justice to all the work that’s been done,” the actor revealed. “Every character is so nuanced and rich, and I’m like, ‘How do I bring this? And what is gonna serve the story and Moon Knight?’ And also important for me to create a character who has her own arc, not just in service of the man.”
Calamawy continued, “And luckily, I had just incredible people that I was working with. And Layla took a village; I’ll say that. I worked so much with [director] Mohamed Diab and his wife. Oscar and Ethan [Hawke] were so helpful. My stunt doubles were like, I needed them, you know, so we found her.”
The MCU actor also detailed the Moon Knight casting call for Layla. Calamawy said, “When I auditioned, it was like, ‘Egyptian woman,’ and I was like, ‘I’ll take it.’ But it was as we were going along that the mysteries were unfolding, I was just on the ride with it. It was cool.”
How Ethan Hawke helped May Calamawy on the set
While filming the MCU series, May Calamawy looked to co-star Ethan Hawke in helping her develop her character.
“I remember I messaged Ethan during the rehearsals, and I was like, ‘I feel like our characters need a scene together,'” Calamawy told The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s a master developer, and then the next day, he came in and was like, ‘So I figured out a scene that we need to put in there.’ He had a whole scene mapped out. And I remember there was a line where I was like, ‘I think we need this in here.’ And Ethan was like, ‘Cool!’ and he put it in and said it.”
She added, “So that whole process was so empowering for me because this was Ethan Hawke. I’m not really used to the development process of things or using my voice or trusting my opinion. So that moment was really huge for me, especially when we filmed it.”
MCU’s Moon Knight airs Wednesdays on Disney+.