May Calamawy Didn't Know She Was Embodying The Hippo God Taweret Until Just Before Cameras Rolled

From the beginning, "Moon Knight" was marketed with the main attraction of Oscar Isaac embodying multiple different identities of the same character and, essentially, acting against himself in several big moments throughout the series. To nobody's surprise, the actor rose to the occasion and then some, serving as the centerpiece of some of the absolute best sequences in "Moon Knight" and carrying much of the storyline on his shoulders. But among many other surprises, the season finale came with one last unexpected twist for viewers. Not only did May Calamawy's Lalya El-Faouly finally receive the superhero treatment that many fans have been waiting for, but she even got in on the action by (briefly) portraying multiple characters within the same body.

With Marc Spector shot dead at the hands of Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) and both Spector and Steven Grant seemingly lost forever to the Egyptian afterlife, the task falls to Layla to find a way to release the Khonshu and prevent Harrow from unleashing destruction through the goddess Ammit. As it turns out, this necessitates becoming an avatar of the gods in the same way that Marc pledged himself to Khonshu. In this instance, however, Layla (temporarily!) agrees to become the human vessel for the far more mild-mannered Tawaret, giving her the powers (and extremely cool outfit) of Scarlet Scarab.

As far as acting challenges go, the scene where Calamawy has to portray Tawaret speaking through her and holding a conversation with Layla perhaps wasn't as intensive as what Isaac went through ... but fans may not have known that this wasn't the original plan, after all. While speaking to, the Egyptian actor revealed that the voice and motion capture performer for Tawaret, Antonia Salib, was going to embody Tawaret, as usual. Then director Mohamed Diab had other ideas. As Calamawy explained,

"Mohamed came to me 30 minutes before we started filming, and [said], 'I actually want you to embody Taweret.' And I was like, 'What?' I had to stand in front of a mirror next to Antonia, and have her choreograph me into the moment. Honestly, it's better that it happened that way, because I think if he had told me days in advance, I would have overprepared."

'It's a bit of a weird sensation'

Who says Oscar Isaac's the only one allowed to have some acting fun? May Calamawy's breakthrough role in "Moon Knight" quickly made her a fan-favorite among those who may not have been familiar with her work beforehand. Her performance as Layla allowed her to express a whole range of emotions as she never became boxed into the label of merely a love interest or sidekick to the main hero. The cherry on top of it all, for one quick moment at least, happened to be the scene where Layla allowed Tawaret to turn her into her own avatar ... even if that only came together at the very last minute. As Calamawy further explains in the interview, 

"It was just a testament to throwing yourself in and not putting too much thought. I had seen bits of Oscar going through that performance with Khonshu, and I realized it's a weird sensation. And that's what one of the gods said. It's a bit of a weird sensation, it can be painful, but you get used to it. And Layla had just gone through so much so, I was like, 'What's a really intense way to show this happening?' Because she's also someone who's resisting it. This is someone who's experiencing what being an avatar entails for the first time; not someone who's used to the process."

Luckily, actor Antonia Salib was right there on set to help Calamawy through the experience. According to the Tawaret actor,

"She was frantically trying to copy what I was doing, so I acted out the scene as how I would play Tawaret. She mimicked my gestures, and my intonation, and really did her best to bring my performance to life. Then, when we were filming these scenes, she had an earpiece while I was on the mic, feeding her the lines. Then we just took all that away, allowing her to do her own thing. It was great; it was an amalgamation of both of our performances."

Viewers may not have expected the "Moon Knight" finale to even have enough room for quietly amusing little moments like this, but nobody likely had any complaints about May Calamawy getting another fun acting moment in a series full of them.

All 6 episodes of "Moon Knight" are currently streaming on Disney+.