Gal Gadot to Star in Cleopatra Biopic, Sparking Outrage

Israeli Hollywood star Gal Gadot is set to play the role of Cleopatra in an upcoming remake of the famed biopic, directed by Patty Jenkins and written by Laeta Kalogridis.

Gadot has previously worked with Jenkins on both Wonder Woman films, teaming up once again to tell the story of the famous Egyptian queen in a film set to be produced by Paramount Pictures. 

The announcement of Gadot playing Cleopatra however, has caused outrage and backlash across social media. Disputes over Cleopatra’s heritage and ancestry have surfaced and parallels are being drawn with Gadot’s heritage and ethnicity. 

Being Israeli with Greek origins, there are those who argue that Gadot is unfit to be playing the role of the Egyptian queen. The casting choice has been met with both questions of racism and ethnic diversity and appropriation in Hollywood as many believe an Arab or dark-skinned actor would have been a better fit for the role. 

In addition to this, the casting choice has also caused politically-inclined dispute as other people are angered by the fact that an Israeli actress is set to play the role of an Egyptian queen. Some people have counter-argued that, stating that Gadot has Greek roots and that Cleopatra was actually a descendant of Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek.

“I love embarking on new journeys, I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life… Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time,” Gadot commented in regards to the upcoming project. Cleopatra was an ancient Egyptian queen and the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. She is most famously known for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

Images of the famed queen have been depicted throughout history countless times, however her story is most famously known through dramatic works such as William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and the 1963 film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor.