Gal Gadot Defends Playing Cleopatra After 'Whitewashing' Controversy: 'Anybody Can Make This Movie'

Gregg DeGuire / Getty Gal Gadot
Gal Gadot speaks in a biopic about the historic Queen of Egypt after a backlash about being cast as Cleopatra.
In an interview with BBC Arabic, interviewer Sam Asi asked the 1984 Wonder Woman star, "Some Egyptians say this is whitewash. How do you react?"
Gadot replied, "First of all, Cleopatra was Macedonian, if you are to be true to the facts." We were looking for a Macedonian actress who could suit Cleopatra. She wasn't there and I was very passionate about Cleopatra. "
"For me as a people lover and I have friends all over the world, whether Muslims or Christians or Catholics or atheists or Buddhists or of course Jews, people are people, and with me I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honor this amazing historical icon, the I admire so much. "
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She added, "But you know, anyone can do this movie, and anyone can go on and do it. I'm very passionate that I will make my own too."
Gadot announced in October that she would play Cleopatra and co-produce the film. Wonder Woman filmmaker Patty Jenkins heads the biopic.
"I love taking new trips, I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life," Gadot tweeted at the time. "Cleopatra is a story I've wanted to tell for a long time. Can't be more grateful. A team !! @PattyJenks @ ParamountPics # AtlasEntertainment #LaetaKalogridis."
The casting choice was criticized, and The Guardian's Hanna Flint called it "a step backwards for Hollywood representation".
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Author Morgan Jenkins tweeted, "I'm sure Gal Gadot will do a wonderful job as Cleopatra. For me personally, however, I would love a Cleopatra that is darker than a brown paper bag because that seems a bit more accurate historically."
Cleopatra was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, a descendant of Ptolemy, a Macedonian general who served under Alexander the Great.
The legendary Egyptian queen was last played by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra in 1963, which cost 20th Century Fox $ 31 million and nearly bankrupted the studio. The film won four Oscar awards.
According to Entertainment Weekly, another Cleopatra film with Angelina Jolie as the title character was announced and developed by Sony Pictures in 2011, but it never came about.
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Gal Gadot
Patty Jenkins

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