Gal Gadot is pushing back against claims that she is whitewashing Egyptian history by portraying Cleopatra in an upcoming film.
“First of all, if you want to be true to the facts, then Cleopatra was Macedonian,” the Israeli actress said in an interview Tuesday with BBC Arabic. “We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.”
After the blockbuster project was announced in October, critics took to social media to argue that the character should be portrayed by an Arab actress.
Cleopatra was the last monarch of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, which ruled the country from 305 B.C. to 30 B.C., but she was a descendant of Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general.
“You know, anybody can make this movie,” Gadot said. “I’m very passionate that I’m going to do my own, too.”
Gadot was asked if she saw possibility for peace between her native Israel and its primarily Arab neighbors. Her answer: I hope so, but we’re not there yet.
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“I do think at the end of the day people are people and they just want to live their simple lives in the safest way,” she said. “They want to have food on their table, they want their kids to be able to go to school and be educated and aspire in their lives. I’m a big believer in diplomacy, and I can only hope that we will have two brave leaders that will bring us there.”
The Cleopatra film is directed by Patty Jenkins, who also helmed the Gadot “Wonder Woman” films.
In her announcement of the film, Gadot said the Cleopatra movie would tell the queen’s story “for the first time through women’s eyes, both behind and in front of the camera.”