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Moon Knight’s Taweret Antonia Salib Shares Her Experience On Set

By Abraham George
April 30,2022

Steven Grant and Marc Spector are confronted with a larger-than-life hippopotamus in the final seconds of Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight Episode 4. She introduces herself as the Egyptian deity Taweret and tells Steve and Marc that she’s come to assist them in traveling through the Duat and arriving in the Field of Reeds — if their hearts were balanced on the scales against the feathers of Maat by the end of the journey.

As Steven and Marc embark on a voyage of self-discovery, Taweret is their lone ally and guide as they uncover unpleasant memories from the past. And, given how dark Episode 5 is, Taweret may be the only bright spot for the two (and the audience) on an otherwise bleak journey.

(L-R): Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector and Steven Grant, and Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The character has been mentioned quietly throughout the series, dating back to Episode 1, but head writer and executive producer Jeremy Slater has made it a priority to get her physically into the show. He was determined to bring the hippo to life after staring at a poster of the deity in the writers’ room for a week. It was only natural for her to kill Marc and Steven, given that she was the goddess of women and children who guided humans through the Duat.

“Once I locked in that I needed the hippo in the show,” Slater tells Marvel.com, “we realised that meant there was definitely some type of excursion to the Egyptian underworld.” “With that, we had our huge backstory episode.” It was the source of my peculiar swing. And, most crucially, it ensured the inclusion of my favourite hippo in the show.”

Antonia Salib plays Taweret in the series, and she not only provides the character’s voice but also the motion capture performance. While she understood she was auditioning for something in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she had no idea she was stepping into the universe of Moon Knight — let alone Taweret’s enormous shoes.

“[The character] caught me completely off guard. She tells Marvel.com, “I knew I was auditioning for Marvel Studios and I knew it was for a lead – an Egyptian woman.” “They gave me a phoney name and a phoney script,” says the narrator. ‘By the way, you’re going to be a CGI hippo,’ they casually stated as I was about to meet the director and the casting team. “OK, sounds wonderful, let’s do it!” I said.

Moon Knight is Salib’s first television part, which she describes as “falling into the deep end,” but she quickly adds that the environment on set and the crew behind-the-scenes made it simple, and Taweret “is so much fun, it didn’t feel like work, to be honest.”

(L-R): Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant and Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Normally, actors in motion-captured performances use motion capture suits, but Taweret does not. While Salib was wearing a big pole on her back to represent the hippo’s height in comparison to Marc and Steven, she was also clothed in some of Taweret’s outfits to give the actress a better grasp of how the deity would move in her beautiful garb.

She recalls,

“I wore these gigantic platform shoes…they were [intended] to be hippo feet.” “I had a beautiful scarab and hieroglyphs carved onto my outfit.” I wore it around my neck as a type of large armour. And I’d plumed out several layers of feathers. She’s an extremely stylish goddess. [I had] these dazzling bracelets that were all gold and looked just stunning. The thrill of having this wonderful outfit and these gorgeous sets was that they actually helped elevate me to this divine hippo level, allowing me to rise to the part.”

“[Director] Mohamed [Diab] told me, when I started production, that I did something during my tryouts where I was messing around with [the costume] and then did something goofy with my knees,” Salib continues. They were like, ‘Oh, we’ve had to incorporate that,’ so the costume department cleverly modified the costume — it was supposed to be this long, trailing costume, but people reduced the skirt so they could see a little more [of me].”

Despite the jewels and beautiful linens, Salib was still tethered to the motion capture pole, which was frequently a source of frustration.

“It was quite light, and on top of it was a tennis ball for Oscar to use for sightlines.” I was trying my hardest to deliver my greatest acting performance, going all out. Because it was so light, I’d forget I was wearing [the motion capture pole], and I’d be leaping around with these platform shoes and this long pole. Everyone said, “No, no!” because there would be lights and cameras above me, and I’d be bounding right into them. So, if any equipment was broken, I apologise,” she laughs.

The extraordinarily detailed model, on the other hand, most certainly served numerous purposes. For one thing, it would have served as a point of reference for the performers on set, as well as maybe creating an eye-line by being situated at the character’s true height. Its primary purpose was to provide lighting reference to the VFX team so that they could best bring the Hippo Goddess to life, while also attempting to mimic the actual lighting on stage.

(L-R): Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector and Steven Grant, and Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The costume, on the other hand, was a step that almost definitely didn’t need to be taken, but it was nonetheless a beautiful show of concern. Its major goal could have been to assist Antonia Salib in settling into the role on set, as well as Oscar Isaac and his brother’s performance. VFX lighting references, no doubt, were also taken.

Moon Knight is now available to watch on Disney+.

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