Gal Gadot As Cleopatra Sparks Anger Within Audience

Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins, has announced the making of a movie based on Cleopatra's story starring Gal Gadot. However, fans aren't too happy.

Gal Gadot recently announced that she was planning on bringing Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt’s story to Hollywood. The movie is said to be released by Paramount Pictures, written by Laeta Kalogridis, and will be directed by Patty Jenkins, who had also directed Wonder Woman in 2017. There’s no surprise that Gal Gadot will be cast as Cleopatra.

Fans did not react to this news with great enthusiasm, they were rather skeptical about it and went on to accuse Hollywood of whitewashing; the casting of, Gal Gadot as Cleopatra, an Israeli actor with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage as the legendary Queen of Egypt has led to a not unfounded debate.

The film industry has had a frustrating habit of whitewashing history and especially movies about Cleopatra, with white actors such as Elizabeth Taylor, Hildegard Neil, Claudette Colbert, and Vivien Leigh who have portrayed a white version of Cleopatra and her western appearance on screen. Gal Gadot as Cleopatra in the role continues this trend.

Even though Gadot ticks some boxes because of her Middle Eastern and North African representation, however, it does not negate the act of whitewashing. This is simply cultural appropriation at this point, picking actresses that are ‘not too white’ and look almost foreign enough does not necessarily mean that the industry is inclusive. From The Ten Commandments to Star Wars, The English Patient to The Red Sea Diving Resort, and more prominently The Mummy franchise, north Africans are either sidelined, underwritten, negatively portrayed, or erased to highlight the white character.

This misrepresentation only adds to people’s fury. Gal Gadot as Cleopatra is clear discrimination against North Africans, why couldn’t Hollywood have cast an Egyptian? Why must an Israeli heritage actress play Cleopatra? The cinema is colonizing in foreign regions for its white-centric purposes.

Moreover, Gal Gadot is criticized as Cleopatra because of her public support to Israel and the Israeli army. She, herself, served in the Israeli Army and was an active soldier when Israel had bombed Lebanon in 2006. Furthermore, she expressed her support to the Israeli army in 2014 during their war on the Gaza Strip. So much so, that Wonder Woman was banned from releasing in Lebanon, Tunisia, and Qatar because of Gal Gadot.

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