Gal Gadot Is Facing Pushback For New 'Cleopatra' Role
The Cleopatra debates are back, this time with Gal Gadot at the fore.
You may remember Gal Gadot from her “Imagine” video from earlier this year, which certainly um, stayed with us. Well now, the Israeli actress has been set to star as the infamous milk-bathing queen Cleopatra in a new biopic, teaming up again with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
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
The announcement has reignited old, frankly tedious debates about what the legendary queen looked like, what ethnicity she was, and the ethnicity of the actress who should play her. Perfect.
Now, given that she was queen of Egypt, some people reckon Cleopatra would have been Black.
Cleopatra is a black woman. https://t.co/bbNtSmB63W
— safy (@SafyHallanFarah) October 11, 2020
Others reckon Cleo was of Macedonian-Greek descent. To be fair, though, Gadot isn’t that either.
Yeah, Cleopatra was Greek. I get it. But casting a zionist whose family is Polish/Austrian/Czech as the queen of Egypt in 2020? Why not just rewatch the Liz Taylor version?
— Randa Jarrar (@randajarrar) October 11, 2020
This person (below) thinks pop culture needs to move past its Cleo obsession and make way for new stories; a very good point given we've had 1963’s Cleopatra (starring Elizabeth Taylor), the 1999 miniseries Cleopatra and in 2002’s Mission Cleopatra, just to name a few. Meanwhile, talk of a Sony-based adaptation of the book Cleopatra: Queen Of The Nile has been on the cards for almost a decade (!) with Angelina Jolie attached as the lead. Rumours later emerged that Lady Gaga was competing with Angelina for the coveted part.
What happened to that movie, you ask? We have no idea.
My two cents: Forget Cleopatra. It’s time for a Queen Nzinga movie.
Queen Nzinga ruled over what would now be called Angola for almost 40 years. She is named one of the greatest rulers of Africa and resisted Portuguese invasion and salve raids. pic.twitter.com/aaRK2qfEEN
— ines helene (@inihelene) October 11, 2020
What Cleopatra looks like has long been debated by historians. “[Her] ancestry... is open to interpretation based on how one views the available evidence”, explains Women’s History Writer Jone Johnson Lewis. In fact, around 50% to 75% of her heritage is apparently unknown and "ripe for speculation". It does seem, though, that she was most likely a woman of colour.
And with that much room for interpretation? Of course Hollywood is going to cast a white actress to play her. Maybe the bigger question is why they always have to be so predictable.
White people keep casting white people to play Cleopatra and Ancient Egyptians, but cry when someone cast a black person in a fantasy tv show or movie, make it make it sense. Also nice to see we still can’t count on white women to cast women of color. https://t.co/F1ic4gCuaf
— The Afro Nerd (@theafronerd) October 11, 2020
Personally, I believe this is the actor for the role.
My audition for the role of Cleopatra pic.twitter.com/rfHpUBgWEX
— Vinny Thomas (!) (@vinn_ayy) October 11, 2020
What? They said 'open to interpretation'.
Main Image Credit: Licensed By Getty