Actor Gal Gadot has responded to accusations against the Wonder Woman star of whitewashing the character of Cleopatra.
The film has previously been touted as Gadot’s idea and will see her link up with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. With the screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis, Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven is on production duties alongside Jenkins, Gadot, and Pilot Wave Motion Pictures’ Jaron Varsano. However, the film’s announcement saw Gadot receive accusations of whitewashing and critics calling it a step backwards for representation.
Filmmakers have been telling the story of the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, for over a century. Performances include Theda Bara in 1917 and Claudette Colbert in 1934. The character was then famously played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 adaption, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The film even set the record for the most expensive movie production, but it was all worthwhile when it won four of its nine Emmy nominations at the Academy Awards.
Responding to criticism, the Wonder Woman actor made an appearance on BBC Arabic in which she ardently defended her casting in the role of Cleopatra. “First of all, if you want to be true to the facts, then Cleopatra was Macedonian,” the Israeli actor said. “We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.”
Gadot then added: “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 before stating that somebody else can make their version of Cleopatra if they wish.
“You know, anybody can make this movie and anybody can go ahead and do it,” Gadot then concluded. “I’m very passionate that I’m going to do my own too.”
Check out the interview, below.