Everyone’s favourite Pharaoh is heading back to the movies.
Paramount Pictures won the rights to a new “Cleopatra” movie, with Greek-American screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis selected to write the new film.
As opposed to 1963’s legendary, Elizabeth Taylor-starring Cleopatra, which was helmed by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz and written by a small group of men, women will lead the charge on this new movie.
The new movie will be written by Laeta Kalogridis, directed by Patty Jenkins and will featuring Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
“Incredibly excited to get the chance to tell the story of Cleopatra, my favorite Ptolemaic Pharoah and arguably the most famous Macedonian Greek woman in history. Never thought I’d have the opportunity to tell a story like this, with women who have inspired me beyond words,” Kalogridis tweeted.
On her part, Gadot tweeted that she was working alongside Jenkins and screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis “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.”
Gal Gadot’s casting as Cleopatra led to a row on social media with some alleging “cultural whitewashing,” where white actors portray people of colour.
The Israeli actress addressed the issue in a recent interview with BBC Arabic.
“To me, as a people lover, and I have friends across the globe, whether they’re Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist, or Jewish of course, people are people,” Galdot continued, “and with me, I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honour this amazing historic icon that I admire so much.”
So far, there’s no word on when the new ‘Cleopatra’ movie will hit theatres.
Cleopatra biographer Duane W. Roller
At the Oxford University Press blog, Cleopatra biographer Duane W. Roller has noted that, “the best evidence shows that Cleopatra was three-quarters Macedonian Greek and one-quarter Egyptian. There is no room for anything else, certainly not for any black African blood.”
Nevertheless Roller continues on to sum up argumentation about Cleopatra’s race as being “rather silly”, saying that “Cleopatra VII, the last queen of Egypt and a woman of great ability, is often a victim of racial profiling, as today people can be more interested in her racial background than her many accomplishments.”
According to Roller; “What is important about Cleopatra is that she became one of the most powerful rulers of her era. She was a skilled linguist, a naval commander, an expert administrator, a religious leader who was seen by some as a messianic figure, and a worthy opponent of the Romans.”
“She was worshipped in Egypt for over 400 years after her death. Race seems irrelevant in such a situation, and it goes without saying that people should be judged by their abilities, not their race,” writes Roller.
“But sadly, even in twenty-first century America, this is far from the case. It is unlikely that Cleopatra cared about her racial makeup, but people over 2000 years later still obsess about it, thus trivializing her accomplishments.”