Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga are reportedly the two frontrunners to portray the legendary Cleopatra VII in a new movie about the Egyptian pharaoh’s life. Sony Pictures has been teasing the project since 2017. Denis Villeneuve, known for films including “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049,” was picked to direct it.
Screenwriter David Scarpa described the mood of the upcoming movie to the Hollywood Reporter in a December 2017 interview: “Instead of doing the movie as the prestige picture, the three-hour, lots of pageantry, people with fans and English accents and all that stuff, [we] really treat it as a political thriller. Dirty, bloody, lots of people swearing and having sex and all of that other stuff and just treat it as a two-hour, lean, mean political thriller, full of assassinations, etc.”
The debate over which actress should win the title role of Cleopatra took center stage on social media after it was announced that Jolie and Lady Gaga were both in the running. Much of the online debate has to do with the Egyptian queen’s ethnicity.
Cleopatra’s Father Had Macedonian Roots But Her Full Ethnicity Has Long Been Debated by Historians
Cleopatra’s ethnicity has long been debated, but one thing is certain: she was not Egyptian. She was born around 69 B.C. She was a member of the Ptolemy dynasty, which ruled Egypt for nearly 300 years.
Her father was Ptolemy XII. He traced his family line back to Macedonia, located north of modern-day Greece, during the time of Alexander the Great. Ptolemy I Soter served as a general in Alexander’s army and allegedly as one of his bodyguards as well. After Alexander died, Ptolemy took over control of Egypt.
This indicates that Cleopatra was at least partly Macedonian. But historians have never agreed as to the heritage of her mother, whose identity has never been fully resolved. Egyptian pharaohs were known for marrying family members, including siblings. It’s possible that Cleopatra’s mother was her father’s sister and therefore also Macedonian. As pointed out by Live Science, it’s very possible that Cleopatra also had African roots.
The 1963 ‘Cleopatra’ Movie Starring Elizabeth Taylor Was One of the Most Expensive Films Ever Produced
The new “Cleopatra” movie is sure to be compared to the 1963 epic film starring Elizabeth Taylor. That version was more than five hours long and took more than two years to complete.
It has gone down in film history as one of the most expensive ever produced. According to Variety, the initial budget was $5 million but total spending reached upwards of $44 million. In today’s dollars, that would equal $350 million. The magazine pointed out that “Cleopatra” was a hit at the box office, but it took years for 20th Century Fox to recoup its investment due to the exorbitant cost to produce it.
The 1963 epic film focused on Cleopatra’s romantic relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Richard Burton played the role of Mark Antony and the actors’ off-screen chemistry helped spur additional curiosity about the movie. Both Taylor and Burton were married at the time; Taylor’s husband was Eddie Fisher, who had been previously married to Debbie Reynolds.
Woman’s Day magazine reported that Taylor and Burton’s first kiss was during filming. They got married in 1964.
Who Should Portray Cleopatra in the Upcoming Movie?
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