Some Casting Aversions to Gal Gadot as Cleopatra

Let me start this by saying that I didn’t think any actress could ever replace Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. I mean, she was Wonder Woman in the comics and in live action in the 70s.

Just like I doubted — and still do — that Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferigno can be replaced as Hulk. And, all due respect to Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, they have not done a better job than Bixby. Comparable? Sorry, no.

But Gal Gadot changed my mind with her portrayal as Wonder Woman. She could and did successfully fill the giant shoes of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and I can’t wait to see WW1984, hopefully on the big screen.

So, when I read that the Wonder Woman combo of director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot are teaming up to remake Cleopatra, my initial reaction was, “yeah, that fits. I could see her in that role.”

Casting-wise, isn’t this the criteria? I’ve never done casting for a movie, so am looking at this totally without any professional standing. Pure amateur viewpoint. But from an experienced moviegoer, if you will. Someone who wants to see movies with proper casting, of course.

Perhaps a simplification, but you also want to cast an actress that will draw interest to a film, so the more unknown actors/actresses you fill the roles in a film, the less likely it will be to garner initial moviegoer interest. That doesn’t mean a film with unknowns can’t be awesome, it simply means initial interest in the film can be affected negatively by not having a star attached. I think even newbies to the movie business understand this as a basic casting premise.

Gadot is a pretty big name right now for actresses and if you want your film to do well, and want a bigger budget for the film, an all star director and actress for this picture helps. Patty Jenkins might not have a huge portfolio of movies, but the ones she’s done to date have been outstanding. She’s a very skilled director and I look forward to her movies.

Am not sure I’m looking that forward to the actual movie in concept, however — I’m very jaded on remakes, the casting and director have nothing to do with it — yet will hold judgment once more on the story and perhaps a trailer are released. It could be something I’m very, very interested in seeing. Regardless, if it’s a wide release in a movie theater and I’m not somehow prevented from seeing (health, theaters closed, etc), I’ll be watching that movie someday in the future. It’s the movies I’m most interested in, the stories. All I ask of casting is that if it is based on a real person, does the person resemble the person, or could prosthetics make that person look similarly. This helps the suspension of disbelief.

I mean, Gadot goes from a DC superhero character of an Amazonian goddess to Cleopatra? Seems like a fitting role for the actress.

And yet there are detractors to the choice. Some who want the role to go to a black actress.

Even The National in the UAE critiqued the choice of Gadot. In an article about five actresses of Arab descent who could play Cleopatra, the author notes that she was actually of “Macedonia-Greek heritage.” The author notes “it also raises the theoretical question: If Gadot wasn’t in the frame, does the Arab world have stars of its own with sufficient stature to be considered for such an ambitious project?” The article admits that since Cleopatra was of Greek background, “the casting call could have been spread far and wide.”

It seems Jews aren’t allowed to play Cleopatra despite Mideast roots – The Jerusalem Post

This discussion seems out of bounds to me. Can you imagine a job interview in any other job except Hollywood where a person’s race would have anything whatsoever with getting the job? It is making me think of job discrimination in the hiring process.

Lest we forget that acting is a job. It might be at a higher level (not extras, not small supporting roles) a very specialized job with extremely great pay — in high profile cases like Gadot’s anyway (she was paid $10 million for her role in WW1984), but it’s still a job.

Casting decisions are not like hiring someone for long term employment, it’s for a project, but actors aren’t viewed as independent contractors.

They have to show up on set at set times and they have to follow the instructions in the script (yeah, there are exceptions) and the instructions of a director. It stands to reason that normal employment hiring laws should at least somewhat follow casting. I don’t know for certain that’s the case, but when I read “a black actress should be hired” it makes me feel the same as “a white actress should be hired.” Neither statement sounds like a viable or even legal hiring criteria.

Do you like Gal Gadot being cast as Cleopatra? Why? Why not?

4 thoughts on “Some Casting Aversions to Gal Gadot as Cleopatra

  1. There’s all kinds of politics in the response to this but I agree with you about the business to. There probably is a great unknown out there somewhere that could be amazing but Paramount’s not going to put that kind of money on a Cleopatra remake headed by an unknown. The other thing is this is apparently Gadot’s project so why should she step aside?

    Anyway it will be interesting to watch this one come together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read some saying that Gal Gadot isn’t a good enough actress for this role. I don’t understand that perspective at all. Maybe they saw a different Wonder Woman movie than me. I’m looking forward to seeing Gadot in Red Notice, Queen of the Nile and other movies she stars in. I’m a fan. I like her voice accent too. She just makes dialogue sound regal or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The original gripe I heard was that Cleopatra should be played by a black actress. This was followed by wanting an Arab actress. Both forgetting she was of Macedonian lineage and probably the product of incest.

    I do agree with your view on casting a name actress. Names get projects made and noticed. Remember the controversy over Rub & Tug? Without a name like Scarlett Johannsen attached it never got made.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s