Israeli Gal Gadot Cast as Cleopatra — Who Was Greek, Not Black, Not Arab, but that Didn’t Stop the Internet

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Israeli actress Gal Gadot is teaming up again with “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins in a new film about the legendary Cleopatra, sparking an outcry on social media with calls for the Egyptian queen to be played by a black or Arab actress.

“Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time. Can’t be more grateful about this A team,” Gadot wrote on Sunday.

“I love embarking on new journeys, I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life,” she said.

The news was met with furor in the twittersphere.

Many, including the screenplay writer, pointed out that Cleopatra was actually a Macedonian Greek.

Cleopatra biographer Duane W. Roller wrote — a decade ago — at the Oxford University Press blog,  that “it has been suggested – although generally not by credible scholarly sources – that Cleopatra was racially black African. To be blunt, there is absolutely no evidence for this.”

Cleopatra was most likely “three-quarters Macedonian Greek and one-quarter Egyptian,” and, “here is no room for anything else, certainly not for any black African blood,” Roller went on.

Gadot ranked third on a recently released Forbes list of the highest-paid actresses in the world in 2020.

It is a far cry from her “Wonder Woman” days, during which the internet swirled with rumors that the Israeli star was paid a meagre $300,000 for her reprisal of the iconic superhero.

“Wonder Woman” was banned in LebanonTunisia and Qatar over the Israeli actress’ starring role.

Gadot has in the past said highlighting her Israeliness was her way of combating antisemitism.

“I receive a lot of antisemitic messages and talkbacks. But [being Israeli is] just who I am and I believe there is no reason to hide it or lie. Those who love will get it and that’s it,” she told the Hebrew-language news website Walla.

“Israel is very important to me, and I wish for our country to really be in a good place and enjoy some quiet, stability, peace and calm, because I believe in the end that all the people want it. There are no people who want war and for their sons to have to go to the army. We want it to be good here. So I try to reinforce these messages, about the good and the desire for peace and quiet,” added Gadot.

 

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