Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi

Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi
Charlie Cox played the lead role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Netflix series “Daredevil.” (Supplied)
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Updated 04 March 2022

Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi

Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi
  • The lowdown on the big names at this weekend’s Middle East Film & Comic Con

Charlie Cox

Who: English actor who played the lead role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Netflix series “Daredevil” — lawyer Matt Murdock by day and titular masked vigilante at night… who also happens to be blind. That series was cancelled in November 2018, despite a passionate — if not huge — audience, who will have been relieved to have seen Cox’s brief cameo appearance as Murdock in last year’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which suggests that Cox (as Daredevil) is likely to feature heavily in MCU projects over the next few years.

Where else you might have seen him: Cox first came to international attention in the 2007 fantasy film “Stardust,” opposite Claire Danes. He had a recurring role in season two of “Boardwalk Empire,” and played Jonathan Hellyer Jones in 2014’s Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything.”

In his own words: “People always think I know more than I do. That’s funny to me, because the people who make these decisions — who know how secretive they need to be — the worst thing they could do is tell actors.”

Jon Bernthal

Who: Bernthal qualifies as an international Comic Con veteran these days, 11 years on from his debut as Shane Walsh in “The Walking Dead.” That character alone was probably enough to keep him on the circuit for the rest of his life, but he then went on to star in Marvel’s “The Punisher,” (a spin-off from Charlie Cox’s “Daredevil” show) as the titular antihero of a dark, gritty show that was cancelled after its second season in 2019. But Bernthal did make a recent cameo appearance as The Punisher in the MCU’s “Hawkeye” mini-series, so perhaps Bernthal will be reunited with his good friend Cox in an upcoming Marvel feature.

Where else you might have seen him: Bernthal has stayed busy ever since his rise to fame in “The Walking Dead.” Some of his movie credits since include “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Baby Driver,” “Ford v Ferrari,” and last year’s “King Richard” with Will Smith and “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark.”

In his own words: “The criteria in which I decide what I'm doing next is: ‘Does the script move me?’ ‘Who am I working with?’ ‘Who is the filmmaker?’ and ‘Is that somebody I'm dying to work with?’ I never really look at this stuff in terms of career trajectory, it's all about who I’m working with and how good the material is. 

Michael Rooker

Who: One of the finest screen ‘tough guys’ currently working, Rooker is also a “Walking Dead” alumnus, playing Merle Dixon (Daryl’s brother) — a misogynistic, murderous redneck — in early seasons of the AMC show. Comic Con fans will also know him from his portrayal of Ravager leader Yondu Udonta in the MCU’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Though he might look like a caricature baddy, Rooker has a gift for adding ambiguity and humanity to his roles, and can generally be relied on to improve any scene he’s in.

Where else you might have seen him: Rooker made his film debut in 1986’s “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” playing Henry Lee Lucas, a role for which he was widely praised. You might also have heard him in the “Call of Duty” video game franchise, in which he has played himself and the character Mike Harper. In the movies, he’s most commonly seen in action films or thrillers — in 2021 he starred in “The Suicide Squad” as Savant and also joined the “Fast and Furious” franchise in “F9.”

In his own words: “When people leave a movie, if they have more questions than answers, then I’ve done my job. That’s my forte and I like it a lot and I love leaving the audience wanting more and knowing there is more, which is really cool.”

Nathalie Emmanuel

Who: She might not be the biggest name on the MEFCC roster this year, but the English actress was an important part of what was arguably the biggest TV show of all time: “Game of Thrones.” As a former slave turned advisor to Daenerys Targaryen, Emmanuel’s Missandei was an often-isolated voice of wisdom and calm amid the madness of the fight for the Seven Kingdoms. She even made it all the way to the final season, although not the finale, sadly.

Where else you might have seen her: Unless you’re a fan of the UK soap opera “Hollyoaks,” which — let’s face it — is unlikely, then chances are you’ve only seen Emmanuel’s post-“GoT” work, the most prominent roles of which are her appearances in the “Maze Runner” franchise and in the last three “Fast & Furious” films. If you’re more into rom-coms, you might have caught her in the US miniseries “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

In her own words: “Missandei stayed kind and graceful and dignified despite unimaginable pain and suffering. Trauma can make people really unhappy and really angry. And she just wasn’t. But she had a fierceness, a quiet confidence and a quiet strength.”

Ming-Na Wen

Who: The Chinese-American actress and model is an official Disney Legend thanks to her voicing of the lead role in 1998’s “Mulan” and its 2004 sequel — a role she has reprised in a TV show (“Sofia the First”), a movie (2018’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet”) and a video game (2005’s “Kingdom Hearts II”).

Where else you might have seen her: Wen is also a regular in “Star Wars”-related shows, including “The Bad Batch” and “The Mandalorian,” in which she stars as Fennec Shand. Further performances of interest to Comic Con fans include starring roles in 1994’s “Street Fighter” movie, animated TV show “The Batman,” “Stargate Universe,” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” in which she plays Melinda May/The Cavalry.

In her own words: “The kinds of characters that have always attracted me are like role models for me — they make me realize what I'm capable of doing if I set my mind to it. And I guess that gets translated when it reaches the audience, who in turn get influenced by it.”

Barry Keoghan

Who: The Irish actor joined the MCU last year, playing the mind-controlling superhuman Druig in “Eternals.” He also has a minor role in this year’s “The Batman,” and played a scavenger in last year’s medieval fantasy “The Green Knight.”

Where else you might have seen him: Although he’s recently been seen in several pop-culture hits, Keoghan is an acclaimed dramatic actor — he was nominated for BAFTA Rising Star award in 2019 — with a string of impressive performances behind him, including roles in “Dunkirk,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and mini-series “Chernobyl.”

In his own words: “I’d mitch off school and go to watch all of these films. I was learning my craft by watching these old movies. I was getting educated and I didn’t even know it.”


Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up

Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up
Updated 14 August 2022

Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up

Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up

DUBAI: From accessorizing US singer Beyonce in her latest music video to opening a pop-up installation in Mykonos, the Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi has been making headlines with her latest work. 

This week, Beyonce released a teaser for her song “I’m That Girl,” the opening track in her latest album “Renaissance.”

In the 3-minute video clip, the US superstar wears fishnet stockings from Muaddi’s 2021 collaboration with Austrian brand Wolford.

Beyonce wore fishnet stockings from the Amina Muaddi x Wolford collection. (YouTube)

The Amina Muaddi x Wolford collection featured form-fitting tights and leggings, alongside bodysuits, dresses and a sinewy catsuit with built-in heels that are meant to hug the body like a glove. The designers opted for latex, lace, viscose jersey and sustainable leather in the offering. 

One of the labels Beyonce championed in her music video is luxury fashion house Alaia, which was founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaia.

She also wore pieces from renowned labels such as Burberry, Mugler, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and many more. 

Meanwhile, Muaddi, the designer to the stars, gave her 1.3 million Instagram followers a look into her pop-up installation in Mykonos. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AMINA MUADDI (@aminamuaddi)

She shared images of the display and wrote: “If you’re in Mykonos this Summer, stop by our pop-up installation at my favorite shop @luisaworld in Nammos Village, Psarou Beach. Drop 2/22 available in store.”

Last week, the footwear designer released a new campaign for her latest collection titled “Drop 2/22,” which starred Egyptian Moroccan model Imaan Hammam and celebrated her Arab roots. 

The short clips, shared on Muaddi and Hammam’s Instagram accounts, were shot in Cairo. 

The footage was captured by British Egyptian filmmaker and photographer Dexter Navy and featured Hammam in multiple scenarios, including standing alongside a white Arabian horse and posing atop intricately woven rugs.

She posed for pictures alongside women and men wearing traditional outfits and head and face covers decorated with jewelry. 

Muaddi’s offerings feature strappy square stilettos, satin pointed-toe pumps and transparent platforms that are embellished with the designer’s iconic sparkly detailing. 

The collection not only features the designer’s glitzy creations, but also her expanded handbag and jewelry collection.


Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022
Updated 13 August 2022

Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Mai Omar has been announced as the first judge for the Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 contest. The superstar announced the news in an Instagram post, along with the official Miss Universe Bahrain account.

“I am so thrilled to be a part of this historical project and I believe in this platform that empowers women, encourages young individuals to voice out their advocacies and at the same time have an amazing experience sharing their wonderful and inspirational stories with the world,” Omar said.

The new Miss Universe Bahrain will be revealed to the public during the show’s broadcast on Sept. 11, two weeks after she is crowned on Aug. 26.

Nadeem Deyani, who made history last year by being the first woman from the country to participate in the global pageant, will crown her successor at a gala event, the location for which has not yet been revealed.


Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary

Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary
Updated 13 August 2022

Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary

Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary
  • ‘I still carry the same attitude and work ethic. I never tire of this process,’ viral music star tells Arab News

DUBAI: For Egyptian singer-songwriter Ali Loka, music is about telling personal stories. As Spotify’s latest RADAR ARABIA artist, he now has the opportunity to tell those stories to a wider audience through his own mini documentary.

“I don’t sing about anything that I didn’t go through, feel very deeply or have seen someone close to me live through,” said Loka in an interview with Arab News.

“If you listen deeply and want to know more about me, you’ll hear everything that has to do with me, all my personal stories and everything that’s happening in my life. All the small intimate details that I cannot talk about face to face are in my music. Music is how I can express everything that’s happening to me.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ali Loka (@aly_louka)

The music streaming platform worked with Loka to release a mini-documentary, where fans can follow Loka around Cairo, from the stage to downtown to Giza, to get an intimate look at his journey from starting as a solo artist to joining a band and then going solo again.

The film also looks into Loka’s viral track “Matkhafeesh Yamma,” which dropped in November 2021, taking the singer-songwriter to new levels of stardom. The song is currently the most-streamed Egyptian song outside of Egypt on the platform, with 73 percent of its Spotify streams coming from non-Egyptian markets.

But the song’s success can be attributed to Loka’s dedication to his art and a prolific work ethic.

“Before ‘Matkhafeesh Yamma’s’ release, there was a lot of work in the making. ‘Matkhafeesh Yamma’ was released in November 2021 and before that, my team and I had released about 20 tracks. Since 2020, we have released around 30 tracks. The inspiration for the track came from within. It was the feeling I was going through and felt the need to say out loud,” said Loka.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ali Loka (@aly_louka)

One of his bigger musical dreams is to perform in front of the pyramids in Cairo. “And not just in the area but right in front of Khofu, the biggest of the pyramids. I want the pyramids to be distinctive in the background, not too far away,” said Loka.

About his future plans, Loka said: “I have some releases coming and tracks that I am working on. This time, they are even more organized than before. It is the same working process that I have been following all my life. I still carry the same attitude and work ethic. I never tire of this process. I am also shooting a music video to get released in August.”


Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods

Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods
Updated 12 August 2022

Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods

Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods

DUBAI: Saudi fashion label Honayda will become the first designer from the Kingdom to be displayed at luxury London department store Harrods. 

The womenswear brand, known for its strong roots in Saudi culture and led by creative director Honayda Serafi, will go on display at the store from Aug. 22.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

“Proudly announcing that Honayda’s latest collection is now showcased at one of the world’s most iconic department stores, Harrods. A curated selection of exclusive pieces will be available on the eveningwear floor, inaugurating the first Saudi fashion designer in store,” read a post on Honayda’s official Instagram page.

A curated selection of exclusive pieces from Honayda’s “A charm from Afghan” collection will feature in the eveningwear section of Harrods, located on the first floor.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

The brand has made waves regionally and internationally, including with celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lupita Nyong’o, Ashanti and Eve, who have worn the brand at major events around the world.
 


Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour

Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour
Updated 14 August 2022

Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour

Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour

DUBAI: Popular Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS, made up of Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, are ready to hang up their bows, but not before a farewell world tour that will include the Middle East this year.

“The Dedicated Tour” is headed to Hurghada, Egypt, on Nov. 18 and in Dubai the following day as part of the tour.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 2CELLOS (@2cellosofficial)

The two musicians have already performed sellout shows in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Austria.

2CELLOS play instrumental arrangements of pop and rock hits, as well as classical and film music, and have featured on US television series, including “Glee” and “The Bachelor.”

The duo rose to fame in 2011 after their cover of “Smooth Criminal” became a YouTube hit, receiving over 3 million views in the first two weeks. Their debut eponymous album was released in 2011, with covers of songs by rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, Nirvana, Muse and Kings of Leon.