It’s one of Gal Gadot’s movie dreams, but it’s an ambitious, big-budget movie, so pulling it off hasn’t been easy.
The Israeli actress has been one of the main promoters of the return to the screen of Cleopatra, the legendary queen of Egypt who has been taken to the cinema on multiple occasions and who has her most famous interpreter, Elizabeth Taylor, in the remembered 1963 film which in its time was the most expensive in history and lived an intense journey to see the light. Gadot’s project seems to be going down a similar path.
Originally announced in October 2020, the new “Cleopatra” was backed by Paramount Pictures, with the participation of Gadot’s production company, Pilot Wave, and was to be directed by Patty Jenkins, the same one who launched the actress to fame in the “Wonder Woman” series.
In any case, the project started generating controversy after the announcement of a Jewish actress to play the queen of Egypt. In this regard, Gadot said: “I have friends from many countries and they are Muslims, Christians, Catholics, atheists, Buddhists and, of course, Jews. People are people and what I want is to celebrate Cleopatra’s legacy and honor that wonderful historical icon that I admire so much.”
The project, over time, evolved and recently it transpired that Paramount would be removing its support and now it would be finding a new home in another studio, Universal. Additionally, Jenkins will no longer be the director, although she will remain part of the producing team. The film will now be directed by Kari Skogland, who directed the entire “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” series last year and will remain committed to Marvel on the new “Captain America” movie.
About the script, written by Laeta Kalogridis based on a story created by Gadot herself, no further details have been given. In this regard, the actress has said: “I can not reveal much, but I can say that we are going to celebrate the story of Cleopatra. We’re not only going to show her sexy and attractive, but also how strategic and intelligent she is, and we’re also going to show the impact that she had and still has on the world we live in. I’ve seen all the Cleopatra movies, but in this case I feel like we’ll be telling the story the world needs right now.”
The film does not yet have a shooting date or an announced cast.
In addition to Taylor’s “Cleopatra” that bankrupted Fox in the 1960s, the queen of Egypt has been made into a movie since the very origins of the medium.
Georges Méliès made the first, in 1899, with his wife Jeanne d’Alcy in the title role. The silent film diva Theda Bara embodied her in a 1917 film and Claudette Colbert did it in a well-remembered 1934 film.
Then, Vivien Leigh starred in “Caesar and Cleopatra” (1945) with Claude Rains and Sophia Loren herself was the queen in a 1954 Italian comedy.
More recently, the Chilean Leonor Varela played her in a 1999 miniseries, one of the roles that consolidated her in Hollywood.<