Moon Knight tips its hat to the title character’s comic book history in a lot of ways, but it’s also not afraid to add a lot of original elements into the mix, too. One of the most notable innovations is the character of Layla El-Faouly, introduced in episode two as the surprise wife of Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector. This MCU original character is played by Ramy actress May Calamawy, with Layla appearing to be a major player in the series going forward.
Despite being an integral character in a much-anticipated Marvel Studios production, Calamawy has revealed that she landed the gig in a surprising low-key (not Loki) way. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the Bahraini actress explained that her MCU journey started with a random DM on Instagram asking her if she was interested in the part. Calamawy admitted that it was so unlikely to be real, she almost didn’t believe it. As she recalled:
“[Director] Mohamed Diab’s wife Sarah [Goher, who also served as a consulting producer on Moon Knight] messaged me on Instagram, like, “My husband’s interested in you for this Marvel show.” I asked my manager if it was real — because you get a lot of weird stuff on Instagram! She did some fishing, and she’s like, “Okay, it’s real, and I got you an audition. There wasn’t much information about it.”
From there on in, it sounds like things went pretty smoothly and it only took a couple of week before Calamawy found out that the role of Layla was hers.
“For the audition itself, I was really nervous, and I really wanted to do well — because I cared, but I also didn’t have that much information. So, I had fun with it. Two weeks later, I had a chemistry read with Oscar, and then three days later, my manager called me. She was like, “Have you heard anything?” I was like, “No.” She says, “Alright. Well, I have. You got it.” And then we both cried on the phone. [Laughs] My boyfriend was also there, and he cried. It was really cute.”
Thankfully, the filming experience was just as rewarding for Calamawy. The actress has previously revealed that she felt “empowered” by her generous co-stars Isaac and Ethan Hawke, who plays villain Arthur Harrow. She also had a wonderful time working with the late Gaspard Ulliel, who plays Anton Mogart in episode three, calling his recent death “the true definition of tragedy” and the actor a “friendly and warm” person.
With Layla being an MCU-original, we’ve no idea how the character’s story could grow. But the fact it all started for May Calamawy on Instagram just goes to show that occasionally some good can come out of someone sliding into your DMs.
Moon Knight continues Wednesdays on Disney Plus.