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Cleopatra: Gal Gadot Responds to Allegations of ‘Whitewashing’ the Role of Cleopatra

Wonder Woman 1984 star, Gal Gadot, responded to accusations that her being cast in the upcoming Cleopatra was a whitewashing the historical figure. Director Patty Jenkins, who directed Wonder Woman 1984, is also directing Cleopatra. Gadot will play the film’s titular character, Cleopatra.

Gadot was called out for taking on the titular role. Those voices claim that Gadot and Jenkins are ignoring Cleopatra’s mixed-race origins with Gadot portraying the character. Previously, Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra in the 1963 film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The film is considered one of the great classic epics of all-time.

Gadot, who is Isreali, recently defended her decision to play Cleopatra in an interview with BBC Arabic (via The Independent). Gadot said that Cleopatra was of Macedonian descent and that the production couldn’t find an actress who fit the part:

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.

Although the dispute, Kathryn Bard, Professor of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Boston University, said earlier this year: “Cleopatra VII was white – of Macedonian descent, as were all of the Ptolemy rulers, who lived in Egypt.”

Whitewashing continues to be an argument within Hollywood and audiences. By definition, acting is a the portrayal of a character, but the voices behind those who claim that Hollywood continues to whitewash is that there are plenty of actors of color, orientation, ethnicity, disability, etc that are capable of playing a character other than a white man or woman. It’s simply that Hollywood isn’t doing enough to hire those actors or provide them opportunities.

What do you think about those saying that

Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984 opens tomorrow, on Christmas Day, on HBO Max and in theaters.

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