“Wonder Woman 1984” actress Gal Gadot has responded to criticism about her plans to play the role of the legendary queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, in a new historical drama based on her life.
After Gadot revealed plans to play Cleopatra, critics and social media users accused filmmaker Patty Jenkins of “whitewashing” for casting an Israeli actress instead of an Arab or African talent for the role of Cleopatra, who was of Greek and Macedonian descent.
In an interview with BBC Arabia, the star responded saying: “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,” she explained. “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.”
Gadot was not against other productions. She said: “You know, anybody can make this movie… I’m very passionate that I’m going to do my own too.”
The news of the casting proved to be divisive on social media, with some users expressing their discontent.
“The casting of Gal Gadot is just another stroke in the long history of whitewashing and the legacy of colonial Egyptology that strives to sever all connections between Egyptians (widely defined) and the history of their land,” wrote one Twitter user.
Meanwhile, others on social media believe that Gadot’s casting is appropriate.
“I’m going to say this once and I’m not going to say it again, Cleopatra was Greek,” wrote one user on Twitter. “Yes, she was an Egyptian ruler but she was Greek with Persian and Syrian ancestry. The people who are reacting negatively to this are uneducated and uninformed. Gal Gadot deserves this role.”
The Egyptian queen was famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1963 epic, “Cleopatra.”