The Israeli star of Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, will play the lead in Paramount Pictures’ new version of the real life story of Egyptian ruler Cleopatra, in a movie project kicked off by the actress.
The planned historical epic will team Gadot with her Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins and will be written by Laeta Kalogridis, who penned Alexander, Shutter Island Alita: Battle Angel.
Gadot tweeted: “Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time.Can’t be more grateful about this A team!!”
I love embarking on new journeys,I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life.Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time.Can’t be more grateful about this A team!! @PattyJenks @ParamountPics #AtlasEntertainment #LaetaKalogridis https://t.co/qLH7vfCaUo
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) October 11, 2020
Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures won an auction for the rights to Cleopatra after it was pitched to a variety of studios and streaming networks, including Universal, Warner Bros, Netflix and AppleTV+.
It’s an audacious subject to tackle, especially with the industry in such a state of flux due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first Cleopatra epic starred Elizabeth Taylor in 1963 and while it won four Oscars it also nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox because it was so expensive to produce – an estimated $44 million, or more than $350 million (£268 million) in today’s money.
Cleopatra is a perfect theme for today’s audience, however: female empowerment and struggle in a patriarchal society. Cleopatra (69-30 BC) was the daughter of Ptolemy XII and spent time in exile in Rome with her father before returning to Egypt to fight for control of her country. She famously became a lover of Roman ruler Julius Caesar and general Marc Antony and reputedly ordered the deaths of siblings.
Her affair with Antony led to both their deaths.
There is an advanced time-table for the project. Sony Pictures has reportedly been developing its own Cleopatra feature for a number of years, with first Angelina Jolie then Lady Gaga rumoured to pay the Queen of the Nile.
Gadot will next star in Wonder Woman 1984, which is due to open on Christmas Day after yet another blockbuster rescheduling – it was originally supposed to screen in August, then 2nd October. Wonder Woman opened in 2017 and took $821 million at the box office.
Her production company, Pilot Wave, is also developing a series about the American actress and inventor, Hedy Lamarr, at Apple TV+, and another about Polish WWII heroine Irena Sendler at Warner Bros. Gadot will play the lead roles in both if they get the green light.