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.
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.
Others reckon Cleo was of Macedonian-Greek descent. To be fair, though, Gadot isn’t that either.
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.
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.
Personally, I believe this is the actor for the role.
What? They said 'open to interpretation'.
Main Image Credit: Licensed By Getty