Gal Gadot responded to the backlash on social media over her casting as Cleopatra. Fans accused the Paramount movie filmmakers of ‘whitewashing’ the character.
The actress being cast as Cleopatra sparked outrage from fans on social media. However, it was because they assumed Cleopatra was black and North African. Patty Jenkins, the film’s director has accused of ‘whitewashing’ the character after casting a white Israeli woman.
Fans asked filmmakers to cast an African or black actress instead of Gal to play such a role. However, the internet was divided into two parts as the outrage was met with other social media users who pointed out the Egyptian ruler was likely Greek or Persian.
Cleopatra was the daughter of Pharaoh Ptolemy XII as she was born in Egypt. She was a member of the Macedonian Greek royal family that had ruled Egypt for 275 years. This also means that she was most likely fair-skinned. However, Gal has finally responded to the backlash and defended the movie’s casting.
She shared that to be true to the facts, 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.” The actress further added that she has friends from across the globe and it includes Muslims, Christians or Catholics, atheists or Buddhist or Jewish.
Gal said, “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.” She added that anybody is welcome to make the movie and go ahead and do it. the actress expressed her passion for doing it on her own.
‘Whitewashing’ in Hollywood
The actress plays the iconic role of Wonder Woman and will be producing the Cleopatra film. The role is best known to be played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 classic of the same name. “The biopic will retell the ‘story for the first time through women’s eyes, both behind and in front of the camera,” Gadot said.
After news of Gal’s casting was announced back in October, it immediately raised outrage. James Hall tweeted that Hollywood has always cast White American actresses as the Queen of the Nile. He asked if for once, they can find an African actress. The author opened the conversation of a much wider discourse of casting white actors in non-white roles.
It is under the assumption that it will gain a higher box-office appeal. Other social media users argued, the heritage of the character. “Cleopatra was NOT black, she was of Greek descent, and there are even effigies of the time on how she looked like. People need to stop trying to rewrite history with the SJW stupidity of today,” one user tweeted.