Gal Gadot’s Cleopatra movie is a reminder of the 60-year-old failure that changed Hollywood. In 2020, Gadot was cast as Cleopatra in an epic film that would reunite her with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, who was eventually replaced by The Falcon and Winter Soldier’s Kerry Skogland. Since then, development of the project has stalled, even as the studio moved from Universal to Paramount, although it remains controversial why Gadot, an Israeli actress, was given the role of Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, which led to allegations of whitewashing.
Prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, Gadot was doing a press tour to promote her espionage thriller Heart of Stone on Netflix when she made some innocuous comments about her portrayal of Cleopatra and reprising the role. However, the interview has rekindled the casting controversy, and given the current developments in Hollywood, the Cleopatra movie starring Gal Gadot is rekindling people’s memories of the 1963 film Cleopatra, which was a colossal failure that changed the industry. Here below are some of the responses:
@PABastien says it’s “kind of ridiculous that the film industry is facing its biggest crash since the 60s and proposing another Cleopatra”.
@Darren_Mooney echoes this sentiment and argues that Gal Gadot’s Cleopatra movie may be an example of history repeating itself in the Hollywood industry.
@egyptiannna says “I need more people to be pissed about this,” probably referring to Gadot being cast as the Queen of Egypt.
@SaraFangirl_Art says: “If you were offended by the black Cleopatra but not by this, know that you are a hypocrite”, referencing the Netflix miniseries, Queen Cleopatra, which has sparked controversy for casting a black actress, Adele James.
@flyffyannie’s claim that the use of the Greek alphabet in the poster is incorrect. However, the poster was created by a fan and has not been officially released by Universal or Paramount.
@phatcussy says that casting Gadot as Cleopatra is the equivalent of casting Ryan Gosling as Barack Obama.
@flowersinfilm says “no one is watching” the Gal Gadot Cleopatra movie.
As the casting controversy continues, the latest reactions to Gal Gadot’s Cleopatra film also highlight possible similarities to the 1963 version. Joseph L. Directed by Mankiewicz and starring Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, the 1963 film is notable for its lavish production, large budget, and behind-the-scenes dramas which, in turn, changed the industry’s approach to filmmaking.
Production on Cleopatra in 1963 faced difficulties from the start, as its original director, Ruben Mamoulian, was fired and replaced by Mankiewicz. Due to this, the script had to be rewritten several times which led to several delays. Once filming actually began, the cast and crew suffered severe illnesses from the extreme heat in Italy, including a near-fatal form of pneumonia for Elizabeth Taylor. Additionally, her on-set affair with co-star Richard Burton, who played Mark Antony, became a tabloid sensation, bringing even more negative attention to the film.
These problems, along with the film’s elaborate sets and costumes, increased the budget to an estimated $44 million ($340 million when adjusted for inflation). Today, the industry is facing similar problems, as several modern blockbusters including Fast X and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny have seen their budgets stretched mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as difficulties in generating substantial profits. Although the Cleopatra movie starring Gal Gadot probably won’t make any significant impact on Hollywood’s approach to filmmaking, it is bringing back bad memories of the 1963 version.
Source: Various (see link above)