The announcement of Israeli actress Gal Gadot's choice to play Cleopatra on screen has ignited social media, where Hollywood is once again accused of "laundering" amid historic debate over the queen's ethnicity from Egypt.
Gal Gadot, known to the general public for "Wonder Woman", will resume the legendary role played by Elizabeth Taylor in 1963, in the next "biopic" from Paramount studios.
The film will take up the story of Cleopatra "seen for the first time through the eyes of a woman, on both sides of the camera," the Israeli actress said on Twitter. The project includes Patty Jenkins, director of "Wonder Woman", and screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis ("Shutter Island").
And we are especially thrilled to be announcing this on #InternationalDayoftheGirl— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) October 12, 2020
We hope women and girls all around the world, who aspire to tell stories will never give up on their dreams and will make their voices heard, by and for other women.
Gal Gadot's announcement, however, unleashed social media, with many criticizing the fact that a "white" woman born in Israel was chosen to camp an African queen.
"Hollywood has always chosen white American actresses to play the Queen of the Nile. For once, they could not have found an African actress?", For example launched on Twitter the writer and journalist James Hall.
The film industry has often been accused in recent years of too systematically assigning roles representing "non-white" characters to white actors, presumably with the idea of boosting film revenue, a practice dubbed "laundering" by its detractors.
The controversy around Gal Gadot was also an opportunity for some to point out that Queen Cleopatra, descendant of a general of Alexander the Great called Ptolemy and who reigned over Egypt during the 1st century BC ., was probably of Greek origin.
"I am incredibly happy to have the chance to tell the story of Cleopatra, my favorite Ptolemaic pharaoh and without a doubt the most famous Greco-Macedonian woman in history," tweeted Laeta Kalogridis, who has itself of Greek origins.
Gal Gadot refrained from responding to the controversy but retweeted the writer's comment.
Many other Internet users have denounced the anti-Semitism, according to them, to certain criticisms targeting Gal Gadot.
"Wonder Woman 1984" is set to hit theaters next December, but some experts believe the date could be shifted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, like many other big-budget films.