Watch: Not everyone’s happy about Gal Gadot playing Cleopatra
The Wonder Woman star confirmed Sunday that she’s teaming with the director of that film, Patty Jenkins, and Alexander screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis for the project.
She noted that they planned to tell the story of the Egyptian queen in a way that hasn’t been done before, because it will be from the perspective of women. The most famous depiction of Cleopatra onscreen, of course, is Elizabeth Taylor’s take in the 1963 film of the same name written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
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
But as quickly as the news was revealed, some argued that Gadot, who is Israeli, should not be playing the part. They argued that her background should disqualify her.
Cleopatra will be the subject of another Hollywood epic. Playing #Cleopatra will be Israel's Gal Gadot. Hollywood has always cast white American actresses as the Queen of the Nile. For once, can't they find an African actress? pic.twitter.com/R1kNkhHsM4— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica) October 11, 2020
Which Hollywood dumbass thought it would be a good idea to cast an Israeli actress as Cleopatra (a very bland looking one) instead of a stunning Arab actress like Nadine Njeim?— sameera khan (@SameeraKhan) October 11, 2020
And shame on you, Gal Gadot. Your country steals Arab land & you’re stealing their movie roles... smh. https://t.co/GY5tYEcl4K pic.twitter.com/JcrnM1RUQq
I'm sure Gal Gadot is going to do a wonderful job as Cleopatra. However, for me personally, I would love a Cleopatra who's darker than a brown paper bag, because that seems a bit more historically accurate.— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) October 11, 2020
For the record, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff, who wrote 2011’s Cleopatra: A Life, has explained that Cleopatra was “a woman who was about as Greek, in terms of ethnicity, in terms of culture, in terms of education, as you could be in that world.” It was a factoid that some already knew.
Gal Gadot, who is Israeli, was cast to play Cleopatra— Lauren Chen (@TheLaurenChen) October 12, 2020
Now we're finding out how many people didn't know that Cleopatra wasn't actually of Egyptian descent https://t.co/leuKzE1F6y
Idiots on Twitter explode with rage over casting of '"white", Israeli' @GalGadot as Cleopatra - In the process, the Twitterverse got a history lesson, as many learned that the famous queen was Greek - @hannahbrown972 @Jerusalem_Post reports: https://t.co/qjeo1b9TUc— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) October 12, 2020
So, she didn’t know Cleopatra was Greek & she calls the stunning Gal Gadot “very bland looking”. Pathological hatred of Israel does strange things to people’s brains. https://t.co/dgOa9ILFFJ— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) October 12, 2020
Whatever the opinions on the casting, Gadot explained that she has a clear intention for the project, which she’ll also produce. “We hope women and girls all around the world, who aspire to tell stories will never give up on their dreams and will make their voices heard, by and for other women,” she wrote when she shared the news.
The star of the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 has several other projects in the works, including an action-comedy with Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called Red Notice and a TV series based on the biography of ‘40s and ‘50s actress Hedy Lamarr.
Watch: The latest trailer for Wonder Woman 1984