This morning, it was announced that Gal Gadot had been cast as Cleopatra in a forthcoming biopic. The actress has teamed up with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins once again for the historical flick.
“As you might have heard I teamed up with @PattyJenks and @LKalogridis to bring the story of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, to the big screen in a way she’s never been seen before,” Gadot tweeted.
“To tell her story for the first time through women’s eyes, both behind and in front of the camera.”
As you might have heard I teamed up with @PattyJenks and @LKalogridis to bring the story of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, to the big screen in a way she’s never been seen before. To tell her story for the first time through women's eyes, both behind and in front of the camera. pic.twitter.com/k5eyTIfzjB— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) October 12, 2020
She added, “I love embarking on new journeys, I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life. Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time. Can’t be more grateful about this A team!!”
I love embarking on new journeys,I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life.Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time.Can’t be more grateful about this A team!! @PattyJenks @ParamountPics #AtlasEntertainment #LaetaKalogridis https://t.co/qLH7vfCaUo— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) October 11, 2020
Films based on the Egyptian queen have been a topic of contention for many, many years.
Several Hollywood studios have struggled to get Cleopatra-related projects off the ground, with Variety reporting that Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga were at one point rumoured to star in a film based on the historical figure.
The reason for the controversy is that there’s been much debate about her race and skin colour as some scholars believe she’s of Greek ancestry while others believe her to be Black. These are just two of many theories about the Egyptian queen’s ethnicity.
In the 1963 film Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor famously portrayed the titular character and to this day, she continues to cop flak for accepting the role because while people still can’t agree on what Cleopatra looked like, one thing’s for sure: she’s not White.
News of Gadot’s casting in the new flick has resurrected the debate online, with punters raising their eyebrows about the film.
Ummm…Cleopatra wasn't black, or Egyptian, for that matter. https://t.co/pZq53ug7ya— Shin Halloyeen-zilla (@Yeenie_Mcbeenie) October 11, 2020
I don't think Gal Gadot should play Cleopatra, but the room temp iq takes that Cleopatra was black when both Marc Anthony and Alexander the Great both said she was a faired skinned Greek is just the icing on the cake.— ????malcolm???? (@MalcyIsHere) October 11, 2020
they really casting bland, anti-palestinian gal gadot to play cleopatra………. pic.twitter.com/014EOUM3s0— alek (@alekkyn) October 11, 2020
One person noted that the obvious Hollywood choice for the role would surely have been Scarlet Johansson, considering she thinks it’s sweet to play Asian and Trans roles as a Cis White Woman.
The Cleopatra we deserved! pic.twitter.com/vQaSoSt5SX— ❕ (@itschopperforme) October 11, 2020
The film’s lead star and its director have not yet addressed the backlash.