Gal Gadot’s starring role in a new telling of Cleopatra was criticized on social media just as soon as it was announced.
The Wonder Woman star confirmed Sunday that she’s teaming with the director of that film, Patty Jenkins, and Alexander screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis for the project. She noted that they planned to tell the story of the Egyptian queen in a way that hasn’t been done before, because it will be from the perspective of women. The most famous depiction of Cleopatra onscreen, of course, is Elizabeth Taylor’s take in the 1963 film of the same name written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
But as quickly as the news was revealed, some argued that Gadot, who is Israeli, should not be playing the part. They argued that her background should disqualify her.
For the record, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff, who wrote 2011’s Cleopatra: A Life, has explained that Cleopatra was “a woman who was about as Greek, in terms of ethnicity, in terms of culture, in terms of education, as you could be in that world.” It was a factoid that some already knew.
Whatever the opinions on the casting, Gadot explained that she has a clear intention for the project, which she’ll also produce. “We hope women and girls all around the world, who aspire to tell stories will never give up on their dreams and will make their voices heard, by and for other women,” she wrote when she shared the news.
The star of the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 has several other projects in the works, including an action-comedy with Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called Red Notice and a TV series based on the biography of ‘40s and ‘50s actress Hedy Lamarr.