Gal Gadot on ‘Cleopatra’ Casting: We Tried to Find Macedonian Actor, but ‘She Wasn’t There’

The release of Wonder Woman 1984 this week marks the second collaboration between director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot, but it won't be the last. In October it was revealed that Jenkins and Gadot are teaming up with Paramount Pictures for a new film about Cleopatra starring Gadot as the Egyptian queen. The casting generated backlash as Gadot is an Israeli actress who is said to play a mixed race historical figure. The outrage echoed the whitewash of Cleopatra in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1963 film, in which Elizabeth Taylor was cast in the title role. In a new interview with BBC Arabic (via The Independent), Gadot defended taking on the role of Cleopatra.
"First and foremost, Cleopatra was Macedonian, if you're going to be true to the facts," Gadot told BBC Arab presenter Sam Asi. “We were looking for a Macedonian actress who could suit Cleopatra. She wasn't there and I was very passionate about Cleopatra. "
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"I have friends from all over the world, whether they are Muslims or Christians or Catholics or atheists or Buddhists or of course Jews," continued Gadot. "People are people, and with me I want to celebrate Cleopatra's legacy and honor this amazing historical icon that I admire so much."
Gadot concluded by saying that other filmmakers and actors can approach Cleopatra with their own film adaptations if they have a problem with their interpretation, adding, “You know, anyone can do this film, and anyone can go on and do it. I am very passionate that I will make my own too. "
Hollywood has long shown interest in assembling a Cleopatra tent pole. Screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis, best known for writing Oliver Stone's epic "Alexander" and Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island", is working on Gadots and Jenkins' Paramount film, which differs from the Cleopatra film that Sony has long had in the Development hell has sat. Producers Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin tried over the years to bring about a Sony film based on Stacy Schiff's biography, courting actress Angelina Jolie, and directors like James Cameron, Denis Villeneuve and David Fincher.
The Cleopatra movie is one of two large tent poles that Jenkins lined up in her file after the release of Wonder Woman 1984. In addition to reuniting with Gadot for the Egyptian queen epic, the filmmaker will also go to Lucasfilm to direct the “Star Wars” film “Rogue Squadron”.
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Gal Gadot
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