Casting of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Cleopatra sparks anger

Casting of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Cleopatra sparks anger. Social media users have reacted with dismay at the casting of Israeli actress Gal Gadot in an upcoming film about Cleopatra, the queen of the Nile.

Gal Gadot attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition on Monday, May 6, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The movie, to be released by Paramount Pictures, will be directed by Patty Jenkins, who was also behind the 2017 movie Wonder Woman and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984.

In both movies, Gadot plays the lead role. Gadot is said to be behind the idea of the movie – billed as an epic biographical show – written by Laeta Kalogridis.

Fans’ reactions were mostly skeptical, with many accusing Hollywood of whitewashing and wondering whether Cleopatra ought to be played by an actress of color.

Cleopatra was a descendant of Ptolemy I, a Macedonian Greek who established himself as ruler of Egypt after the death of his companion Alexander the Great.

Lexi Alexander, a Palestinian-German director, said the role ought to go to a Black actress. “I believe we should cast someone like the 3D image they created based on the coin they found with Cleopatra on it … which implies the part ought to go to a Black actress,” she said on Twitter.

Others pointed to Gadot’s history of having served in the Israeli army, and her outspoken support for the army’s military offensives on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gadot was an active soldier in the military when Israel invaded and bombed southern Lebanon in 2006.

In 2014, during Israel’s 52-day war on the Gaza Strip in which more than 3,000 Palestinians were killed – the majority of them civilians – she expressed her support to the Israeli army.

“I am sending my love and prayers to my kindred Israeli citizens,” Gadot wrote in a Facebook post.

“Especially to all the boys and young ladies who are risking their carries on with protecting my country against the awful acts conducted by Hamas, who are concealing like cowards behind women and children … We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!”

Gadot isn’t the first white woman to play Cleopatra. Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor have all portrayed the historical figure in the past.

In 2017, Lebanon, Tunisia and Qatar banned Wonder Woman. Lebanon’s decision was based on the grounds of a long-standing boycott of Israel, and Tunisia complied with the boycott after one of its parties slammed normalization with Israel.

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