Stefania Cella interview: ‘Moon Knight’ production designer
“I was terrified to do something, that had a statue-like look, like a prop,” admits acclaimed Italian production designer Stefania Cella on creating something unique and authentic for the sci-fi action thriller “Moon Knight .” For our recent webchat she adds, “that was the most terrifying thing to me,” she proclaims; “suddenly entering into a place, if it doesn’t look good, it’s becoming grotesque, and that was more frightening than anything.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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“Moon Knight” was created by Jeremy Slater (“The Umbrella Academy”), based on the Marvel comics featuring the character of the same name. Slater collaborated with Egyptian helmer Mohamed Diab (who shepherded four of the six episodes) on the Disney Plus limited series, the sixth TV production in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “What If…?” and “Hawkeye.”
Oscar Isaac stars as Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight) and Steven Grant (a.k.a. Mr. Knight), two alters of a man with dissociative identity disorder (who we eventually learn is joined by a third alter, the mysterious Jake Lockley). Marc is a ruthless mercenary who becomes Moon Knight, the avatar (i.e. the manifestation of a deity in bodily form on earth) for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, with his alter Steven, a mild-mannered British gift-shop employee who becomes Mr. Knight, Steven’s persona when he is Khonshu’s avatar. The series co-stars May Calamawy as Spector’s estranged wife Layla El-Faouly (who later becomes the Scarlet Scarab), Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke as villain Harrow and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, who voices the moon god Khonshu. “Moon Knight” premiered March 30 with critics reserving special praise for Isaac and the show’s impressive production values and darker tone.
“How many times in your life can you be asked to do Egypt,” Cella smiles incredulously. “Once maybe? It was a dream, it really was a dream,” she says, further explaining that the series not only presented her with an exciting challenge — to recreate a world immersed in ancient Egypt — but to also push the envelope on the series sci-fi and fantasy elements as well. “‘Moon Knight’ is [often set at] night. I love working at night because you can work with the light and I love dark colors. So, it was a combination of that, plus it was six hours, so I can play for six hours!”