Gal Gadot Defends Cleopatra Casting After ‘Whitewashing’ Backlash

Standing her ground. Gal Gadot stands by her decision to take on the role of Cleopatra in an upcoming biopic despite “whitewashing” criticism.

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In an interview with BBC Arabic, Gadot was asked for her response to those who claimed that her casting of Cleopatra due to her Egyptian roots is “whitewashing.”

“First of all, if you want to be true to the facts, then Cleopatra was Macedonian,” the Wonder Woman 1984 star, 35, explained on Tuesday, December 22. “We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.”

Gadot continued, “To me, as a people lover, and I have friends 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.”

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The actress, who hails from Israel, noted that “anybody can make this movie, and anybody can go ahead and do it.” She added that she is “very passionate that I’m going to do my own too.”

In October, Deadline reported that Gadot was tapped to star and coproduce a film about the Egypt-born ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. The biographical drama, which is scripted by Laeta Kalogridis, will see the Justice League actress reunite with her Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins.

Gadot confirmed her involvement in the project via Twitter. “I love embarking on new journeys,” she wrote, sharing a link to Deadline’s report on the casting news. “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!! @PattyJenks @ParamountPics #AtlasEntertainment #LaetaKalogridis.”

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A film about Cleopatra’s life was first explored in 1963 with Elizabeth Taylor in the coveted role. The movie received nine Academy Award nominations and secured wins across four categories, including Best Costume Design and Best Visual Effects.

Earlier this year, Gadot garnered backlash for enlisting dozens of A-listers to sing a portion of John Lennon’s “Imagine” while quarantining from home in March. While the video was intended to spread joy, it drew criticism for being tone-deaf.

“Sometimes, you know, you try and do a good deed and it’s just not the right good deed,” the Army vet told Vanity Fair in October. “I had nothing but good intentions and it came from the best place, and I just wanted to send light and love to the world.”

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