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Gal Gadot wants to play Cleopatra



WONDER WOMAN: There can be no doubt that Gal cast as Wonder Woman is superb. Better in the explosive first episode set mostly in World War One, but the sequel is entertaining, which is what it is all about, in which Kristen Wig and Pedro Pascal are superb.





BBC NEWS 22 DECEMBER 2020 - GAL GADOT DEFENDS CLEOPATRA CASTING l Gadot defends Cleopatra casting after 'whitewashing' controversy

Israeli film star Gal Gadot has defended her plan to play Cleopatra following accusations of whitewashing.

Critics say an Arab or African actress should play the ancient Egyptian queen.

"First of all if you want to be true to the facts then Cleopatra was Macedonian," the Wonder Woman actress told BBC Arabic's Sam Asi.

"We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn't there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra."




Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor



Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most talented actors of her day. She starred against Richard Burton, who was favoured by Hollywood in many films, but to our mind, his performances were rigid and monotone. Liz, on the other hand, was very expressive and oozed sex appeal. The standard of acting today is more demanding. As with any craft, it develops. Along with CGI, films can be made with greater realism and at lower cost. Indeed, that is expected by the viewing public.




Controversy erupted in October after Gadot announced that she would star in and co-produce the film. The Guardian's Hanna Flint called it "a backwards step for Hollywood representation", while director Lexi Alexander said a black actress should be cast, citing a reconstruction of Cleopatra's face.

Gadot said: "I have friends from across the globe, whether they're Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist, or Jewish of course... People are people, and with me I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honour this amazing historic icon that I admire so much."

She said other people were welcome to make their own films. "You know, anybody can make this movie and anybody can go ahead and do it. I'm very passionate that I'm going to do my own too."









Cleopatra, born in the ancient Egyptian capital Alexandria, was the last ruler in the dynasty founded by Alexander the Great's Macedonian general Ptolemy, whose descendants ruled Egypt for 300 years.

They have long been thought to have been white with a high degree of inbreeding. But there is mystery over the identity of her mother, leading to speculation that Cleopatra may have been of mixed heritage.

In 2008, Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton from the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge created a reconstruction of her face from images on ancient artefacts. It showed her with mixed ethnicity.





Cleopatra's sister Arsinoe



Cleopatra was of Macedonian descent, as were all Ptolemaic rulers who lived in Egypt. Not knowing who her mother was, is part of the puzzle that allows some leeway, when it comes to casting for films. Plus the fact that white or not, all humans respond to sunlight by increasing the melanin in the skin. Tanning takes place in the skin's outermost layer, the epidermis. About five percent of the cells in your epidermis are special cells called melanocytes. About 5 million of them. We all have the same number of these cells. Copper and vitamins C and E can improve the ability of the body to defend against harmful ultraviolet rays, essential in a location like Egypt.




"She probably wasn't just completely European," Dr Ashton told The Daily Mail at the time. "You've got to remember that her family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to power."

The following year, a BBC documentary about the discovery of the possible skeleton of Cleopatra's sister Arsinoe suggested she may have had mixed ancestry.

But earlier this year, Kathryn Bard, Professor of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Boston University, told Newsweek: "Cleopatra VII was white - of Macedonian descent, as were all of the Ptolemy rulers, who lived in Egypt."

The celebrated queen has been played on screen by a string of white actresses, most famously Elizabeth Taylor in the big-budget 1963 film.


At the other end of the scale, we have Adele James in Jada Pinkett-Smith's African Queens, Netflix, Docuseries. Where they are accused of blackwashing. The problem being they include a documentary element in that television streamed series. If they had just come out and said 'fictional series,' it would have been taken as fiction. But, to include a documentary element, and then use a drama to try to argue that (probably) the most famous female ruler of all time was black. Is seen by some as Afrocentric propaganda. This has nothing to do with the acting quality, save that the lead must have known, as with the producer, the impact such a television programme would have. And it did. It sparked uproar.


You may think that, Gal Gadot is (probably) better suited to the part, ethnicity wise, than Elizabeth Taylor. And many might think Gal could pull that off. For sure, Liz Taylor, had the acting skills to give an extremely credible performance, even if she was (as is yet to be proven) a shade on the light side. But then, Elizabeth was in movie, not claiming to be an educational broadcast.


BBC news 2020



WHITEWASHING: Whitewashing in film is the practice in which white actors are cast in historically non-white roles, potentially downplaying the significance and roles of other cultures. Excepting of course that such films telling those stories might never see the light of day, without a named actor as the draw. Nobody wants to make a film that loses money.

People claim that non-black minorities are the biggest victims to whitewashing, where Asians, Native Americans and Polynesians are not allowed to be the heroes of their own stories, with roles frequently given to white actors in makeup to appear more ‘ethnic’, or even where the entire cultural identity is removed from the story. Though that infrequently happens today, with languages spoken to accurately portray the nationality represented (with English subtitles) for greater immersion into a film.

The plain fact is that actors of all cultures are now making big box office, including Gal Gadot, Wesley Snipes, Denzel Washington, Irrfan Khan, Hal Berry, and Jet Li, all of which cultural diversity add to the realism and draw of a movie.

For those putting their money where their mouth is, they should benefit from artistic license in casting and interpretation of stories. Film making is about entertainment and education. Acting is about portraying someone you are not. A great performance in a movie shouldn’t be downplayed by whitewashing allegations. In the case of Cleopatra, nobody is sure exactly what she looked like, or her ethnic makeup. We just know she is of mixed race (are we not all in a global world), frequently a devastating combination.


We also know that she was exceptionally well educated, with the skill (and presumably attributes) to be able to seduce men of great power. It is thus for a producer and the movie backers to research as far as possible, and make a suitable choice for their film to succeed. In 1963 Elizabeth Taylor was a good bet. Today, the viewing public would anticipate an actor able to make them believe, and so enjoy the part, regardless of race or color, provided any disparity was mitigated. Ms Gadot, could well be suited to the part.








Plans for a new movie about Cleopatra have sparked a controversy before filming has even started.

The role of the famed ancient Egyptian ruler is to be played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for her Hollywood depictions of Wonder Woman.

The announcement has led to a row on social media with some alleging "cultural whitewashing", where white actors portray people of colour.

Some have said the role should instead go to an Arab or African actress.

Cleopatra was descended from an Ancient Greek family of rulers - the Ptolemy dynasty. She was born in Egypt in 69BC and ruled the Nile kingdom when it was a client state of Rome.

The row reflects a growing debate in Hollywood over casting and identity, and whether actors should play characters of different ethnicities to themselves.

Writer on Africa, James Hall, said he thought the filmmakers should find an African actress, of any race.

US writer Morgan Jerkins tweeted that Cleopatra should be played by someone "darker than a brown paper bag" as that would be more "historically accurate".

"Gal Gadot is a wonderful actress, but there is an entire pool of North African Actresses to pick from. Stop whitewashing my history!" posted another user..

Other social media users argued that Cleopatra was more Greek or Macedonian than Arab or African.

The row over Gal Gadot as Cleopatra draws on contemporary arguments over national culture, religion and gender politics.

But the ancient Middle East wouldn't conform to many of our modern views of identity.

Cleopatra was on the throne well before Christianity, for example, and centuries ahead of the Arab conquests of North Africa - she was the last of the Ptolemaic rulers; born in Egypt, descended from Ancient Greeks and dominated by Rome.

But there are plenty more problems with popular depictions of the ancient Nile Queen - often cast as a powerful seductress replete with a sensual, oriental mystique.

That image - including Elizabeth Taylor's famous portrayal - is likely a myth handed down to us by Latin love poets years after Cleopatra's death.

The thousands of depictions of her through the ages are "based on a perilous series of deductions from fragmentary or flagrantly unreliable evidence" according to the British historian Mary Beard.

So little is really known, she adds, that Cleopatra should appear to us today as "the queen without a face".

Israeli commentators suggested some criticism was based in anti-Semitism.

The Jerusalem Post journalist Seth Frantzman said it made no sense to exclude Jews from playing roles from the Middle East, "when Jews are primarily a people from the Middle East either with distant or recent roots.

"The idea that casting should exclude Jews is shameful and shows a lack of education for the commentators," he said.

Israel's embassy in Washington tweeted: "One icon playing another! Excited for this new take on Cleopatra!"

Gal Gadot's spokesperson (most sensibly) declined to comment on the row.









The first Cleopatra movie was made in 1917. It was silent. The second Cleopatra by Cecil B DeMille, movie starred Claudette Colbert in 1934, a runaway box office success. The third starred Elizabeth Taylor, with good initial box office, but ultimately a studio flop money wise in 1963. Any way you look at it, a conventional re-make, could be a risky venture, and we take our hat off to Gal Gadot, who must be very passionate about the part. In which case, it is only money!



















'Cleopatra's Mummy' is one of a trilogy in the John Storm franchise of ocean awareness adventures, featuring the incredible solar and hydrogen powered trimaran: Elizabeth Swann. 'Cleopatra The Mummy,' the prequel to 'Kulo-Luna,' or Treasure Island. The order of production could be to suit identified gaps in entertainment, in any particular year. Equally, the trilogy, could be adapted for network television. An example of which is Blood and Treasure.








Queen Cleopatra's royal barge, last of the Pharoahs      Egyptian royal barge, sails and oars for propulsion      Ancient Egyptian royal funeral barge, or solar boat      Pharoah Khufu's royal barge, solar boat for the afterlife



Queen Cleopatra's royal barge, last of the Pharaoh Queens







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