Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab is less than impressed with Wonder Woman 1984's depiction of Egypt.
The Egyptian screenwriter, who made his directorial debut in 2010 with political thriller Cairo 678, is disappointed with Western cinema's standard representation of Egypt. Diab initially wanted to comment on this in Moon Knight, which uses Ancient Egyptian mythology.
“In my pitch, there was a big part about Egypt, and how inauthentically it has been portrayed throughout Hollywood’s history," Diab tells SFX Magazine in the new issue, featuring the Halo TV series on the cover. "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."
Diab also commented on location representation, citing Wonder Woman 1984 as one of Western cinema's biggest blunders. Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor head to Egypt, a storyline that provides the fodder for the film's second major action sequence. The film was criticized for its depiction of Middle Eastern stereotypes.
"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 says. "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."
As Ancient Egyptian lore plays a large part in the comic, incorporating gods and curses, Diab was determined to keep it fun but authentic.
"[It's] part of the show because it’s part of the comic book. It’s part of how he gets his powers. It’s ingrained in it." Diab explains. "There was definitely room to play [in Moon Knight] but keep it as authentic as possible, in the realm of being fantastical. Even in the original comic books they did a great job of researching and trying to make Egypt authentic.”
Moon Knight is set to hit Disney Plus on March 30. For more from SFX’s Moon Knight interviews, plus exclusives on the upcoming Halo TV series, be sure to pick up the latest issue – available on newsstands from March 23. You can also take advantage of our cut-price digital and print bundles and take SFX wherever you go.