Moon Knight: who is May Calamawy, who plays Layla in the Marvel series?

Heroine of Moon Knight alongside Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy is an actress who is rising on the small screen. Discover the career of the interpreter of Layla El-Faouy in the Marvel series.

A series apart in the MCU, Moon Knight has introduced a brand new hero to Marvel fans since March 30 on Disney+. This protagonist tortured between two identities, Steven Grant on one side and the mercenary Marc Spector on the other, and played by Oscar Isaac must face many enemies, including Arthur Harrow, camped by Ethan Hawke.

In these adventures placed under the aegis of Egyptian gods and ancient mythologies, Steven / Marc can count from the second episode, posted online today on the platform, on the help Layla El-Faouy, interpreted by May Calamawy . The actress, little known to the general public, is beginning to make a name for herself on the small screen.

Who is May Calamawy?

Born in Bahrain in 1986 to a Palestinian mother from Jordan and an Egyptian father, May Calamawy moved to Boston to study acting at Emerson University, then to New York to pursue training at the William Esper studio. The bilingual young woman, speaking English and Arabic, has also lived in Doha, Qatar, and Houston, Texas. She suffers from alopecia areata and first contracted the disease when she was 22 years old.

The actress worked on many short films and took part in the New York Arab American Comedy Festival before getting her first major film role in 2013 in Djinn, the latest film by Tobe Hooper, to whom we owe in particular The Texas Chainsaw Massacre cult. This experience gave her some basics on the job, especially when special effects come into play, as the actress explains to us:

“It was a long time ago. But, I think I had to learn to develop my imagination in Djinn, especially in a car scene where I had to pretend and imagine things. But I have it all the more learned [sur Moon Knight]. You just have to go there, get started, even if it means overdoing it. I wanted to avoid overdoing it, but I was taught that the opposite was better.”

Moon knight: who is may calamawy, who plays layla in the marvel series?
Hulu

May Calamawy in the Ramy series.

After this film, May Calamawy was especially illustrated on the small screen with a recurring role in the mini-series The Long Road Home of National Geographic and appearances in The Brave, Madam Secretary and FBI. It is in 2019 that she will obtain the role which will bring her more light in the dramatic comedy Ramy, critical and public success.

She plays Dena Hassan, the sister of hero Ramy Hassan (Ramy Youssef), an American Muslim from the Y generation whose spiritual quest comes up against the judgment of her friends and family. This role opens a few doors for her, and the actress continues with the film Together Together alongside Ed Helms and Patti Harrison, and the dubbing of the character Ellie Malik in the video game NBA 2K21.

Join Marvel

It is in 2021 that she joins the Marvel team to play in the new Moon Knight series and play Layla El-Faouy, a character that May Calamawy is particularly fond of: “I love how resilient she is and how constantly she thinks. I love her determination, her very assertive side but also her vulnerability.”

The actress prepared to enter the MCU by “catching up on all the Marvel movies before you audition during COVID”. Once the role landed, she also had to prepare physically: “I worked with the stunt team for two months before filming and had a coach throughout to keep myself physically fit and comfortable with the role.”

Moon knight: who is may calamawy, who plays layla in the marvel series?
marvel studios

May Calamawy was very attached to the Moon Knight series, in particular for its representation of Egypt and the Egyptians and the mythologies and heritages of this culture, which is dear to her:

“I felt so proud to be able to learn a bit more about mythology because it’s not something I’ve studied before. It was a chance to be on this shoot. All the sets were built and it was easier to appropriate them and to be able to work and be comfortable in this environment.

As an actress, it’s a real gift to be able to show our modern culture. I hope every Egyptian, every Arab will be proud of the series and I’m thrilled that the world and people curious about Egypt can experience it on such a grand scale.”

Interview by Mégane Choquet on March 17, 2022.

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