Egyptian director Mohamed Diab brands Wonder Woman 'a disgrace' due to one 'orientalist' scene

Egyptian director Mohamed Diab brands Wonder Woman 'a disgrace' due to one 'orientalist' scene
2 min read
24 March, 2022
Wonder Woman has already been boycotted in the Arab world due to Israeli actor Gal Gadot's starring role.
Gadot starred in both Wonder Woman films [Getty]

Arab filmmaker Mohamed Diab has slammed the latest edition of the Wonder Woman franchise over its depiction of Egypt.

The Egyptian director took issue with a scene in Egypt, which he said fitted with orientalist stereotypes of the Middle East.

The Wonder Woman series has been banned or boycotted in parts of the Arab world due to its star, Gal Gadot, past role in the Israeli military.

"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," Diab told SFX Magazine.

These misconceptions often relate to producers choosing locations outside Egypt, he said, with the country's bustling famed metropolises always neglected in favour of desert scenes and bazaars.

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"You never see Cairo. You always see Jordan shot for Cairo, Morocco shot for Cairo, sometimes Spain shot for Cairo. This really angers us," he told the magazine.

Diab said these stale portrayals of the Arab world were in his mind when he went for a job as an executive producer for the Marvel series Moon Knight.

"In my pitch, there was a big part about Egypt, and how inauthentically it has been portrayed throughout Hollywood’s history," he said.

"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 has faced criticism in the Arab world himself over his latest film Amira, named after the protagonist in the movie who is conceived from sperm is smuggled out of an Israeli prison.

Anger erupted over the film's premise that the Palestinian prisoner's sperm is switched with an Israeli guard's, with Amira later finding out who her real father is.

The subject sparked huge anger in the Arab world, particularly in the occupied Palestinian territories who said the storyline was not only inaccurate but also dangerous.

A number of countries, including Kuwait, also banned Death on the Nile, based on the Agatha Christie novel, due to Gadot's role in the film.