Filmmaker Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are joining forces once again. But this time around, they will not be making a new installment of the Wonder Woman franchise. Instead, Gadot will be producing and starring in a biopic based on the life of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, to be directed by Jenkins. Past attempts by Hollywood to tell the story of the ancient monarch typically portray her as a seductress. In an interview with Collider, Jenkins revealed how her take on Cleopatra will attempt to show the queen as a formidable leader in her own right.
"I think I actually have a history of looking at complicated characters... in [2003's] Monster, who you could tell the story and then, and then, and then. But the truth is when you get into that person's point of view, it becomes an interesting story in a different way. And hopefully I did that with Wonder Woman as well. So applying that same approach to one of the most famous women in history, Cleopatra, the truth is, the only story that we know of her was told by the Romans who killed her and hated her. And so once we really start looking at what does exist elsewhere about Cleopatra, you see a pretty bad-ass, incredible leader. One of the great leaders in Egypt."
It seems Patty Jenkins wants to show a more three-dimensional view of Cleopatra's life and achievements than simply focussing on her renowned beauty or her relationship with Julius Caesar. Aside from being the last active Pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra spoke many languages, led a fleet at the naval battle of Actium, and had a lasting influence on Roman politics, and the western evolution of democracy. According to Jenkins, her film will explore all the different facets of Cleopatra's reign that have been hitherto left ignored.
"Once we really got down into the nitty-gritty details, there's a pretty incredible story there that is the same story but you understand totally differently if you change things just a little bit where you're seeing it from. So I just think it's a story that she deserves to have told one day beautifully. Gal has been developing this for a while and when she brought it to me, I was so excited by what it could possibly be. And I think she'd be an amazing Cleopatra."
While Jenkins seems confident in Gal Gadot's ability to do justice to the role of Cleopatra, a certain section of the internet has gone up in arms about her casting. Gadot is Israeli, and some critics are demanding that the role of Cleopatra be played by an Egyptian or Macedonian actress instead. The online chatter regarding the issue got so loud that Gadot had to personally address the controversy, and declare her passion for the role.
"First of all, if you want to be true to the facts then Cleopatra was Macedonian. We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn't there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra. 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 honor this amazing historic icon that I admire so much. 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."
This news originated at Collider.