Gal Gadot wants to “celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra” in her upcoming film.
The 35-year-old actress will reteam with her ‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins to portray the ruler of ancient Egypt in a new movie but the Israeli star’s casting has sparked a backlash, with people arguing an Arab or African actress should have been chosen for the iconic role.
And Gal has now hit back, insisting Cleopatra – whose race has been subject to debate among historians – was actually Macedonian but the right Macedonian actress “wasn’t there”.
She told BBC Arabic: “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 honour this amazing historic icon that I admire so much.”
Gal previously shared her excitement at playing Cleopatra.
She tweeted: “I love embarking on new journeys, I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life. Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time. Can’t be more grateful about this A team!!”
The Paramount Pictures film is based on a script penned by Laeta Kalogridis and the studio won the movie following a bidding war with Warner Bros., Apple and Netflix.
Elizabeth Taylor starred in 1963’s ‘Cleopatra’, which won four Oscars.
The massive budget on the film almost led to 20th Century Fox going bankrupt.
However, it became the highest-grossing film of that year, earning $57.7 million at the box office in the US and Canada alone.