Though it’s unclear where the movie sits in its development, Gal Gadot is sharing her excitement about the Cleopatra movie and bringing justice to its main historical figure. Gadot signed on to produce and star the latest biographical epic for the Egyptian queen in late 2020, with the initial plan to reunite with Wonder Woman‘s Patty Jenkins directing. Jenkins eventually shifted to solely a producer role to focus on future projects, leading to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Kari Skogland signing on to direct.
During a recent interview with Vogue Hong Kong for their July issue cover story, Gal Gadot offered some insight on the long-gestating and controversial Cleopatra movie. The actor and producer shared her excitement for getting to explore the historical figure, namely in bringing justice to the false narratives surrounding her. Check out what Gadot shared below:
Israel borders Egypt, and I grew up with so many stories about Cleopatra, and she’s like a household name. You know, if Wonder Woman is the imaginary strong female leader, Cleopatra’s actually the real one. That’s a perfect example of a story that I wanted to tell because I started reading different books about Cleopatra, and I said, Wow, that’s fascinating. All I ever saw in regards to Cleopatra from film, was that she was this seductive woman who had an affair with Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony. But the truth is, there’s so much more to her. This woman was so ahead of her time. Egypt and what Egypt was back then, was still futuristic to where we are today. I can’t say much. But to me, I’m so passionate to tell her story and to bring justice to this character, and her legacy and celebrate her and her legacy. We have a beautiful script, and I cannot wait to share this story with the world and change the narrative of Cleopatra simply being a seductor.
Can Cleopatra Overcome Its Controversies & Long Development?
In the years since Jenkins’ exit, Gadot’s Cleopatra movie has been left largely in limbo, with the project reportedly moving to Universal Pictures from Paramount in mid-2022, though no further development updates have been shared since. Given Gadot confirmed the script was done as far back as November 2021 when the project was still at the latter studio and Jenkins had not yet announced stepping down as director, it’s unclear if the script she is referring to above is the original one from Altered Carbon creator Laeta Kalogridis.
Even aside from its lengthy development, Gadot’s Cleopatra movie has faced a lot of backlash since its announcement of once again whitewashing the central role with the Wonder Woman actor’s casting. Despite her Israeli roots, detractors took issue with Gadot not sharing the mixed-race origins of the historical figure, much like Elizabeth Taylor’s infamous Cleopatra movie in the early ’60s. Gadot has since spoken out in defense of her casting, pointing out that Cleopatra was Macedonian and that while they were looking for someone from the region, they ultimately felt she was best for the part.
With these controversies and unclear production schedule hanging over it, it will be interesting to see if Cleopatra can overcome these issues to prove more of a success than its predecessors. Netflix’s recent Queen Cleopatra infamously saw widespread backlash from critics and audiences alike, but yet still climbed to the streamer’s Top 10, indicating that interest is there for taboo projects. Though with Gadot reuniting with Universal for Fast X, one can hope the two have plenty of discussions for how best to tell the story of the movie’s historical figure.