Actress Gal Gadot became a household name thanks to her role as Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe. Since then she’s taken on a variety of other roles, with moviegoers eagerly anticipating projects like Red Notice and Death on the Nile. Gadot recently signed on to play the title character of Cleopatra, and now she’s addressed the backlash facing her role.
While Gal Gadot’s star power has been steadily growing, she’s also been the subject of some criticism by the public. In addition to her cringe-y video singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” with other celebs, Gadot has been facing some backlash over her Cleopatra role, with critics claiming it was an example of whitewashing. The 34 year-old actress has since addressed those concerns, saying:
First of all, if you want to be true to the facts then Cleopatra was Macedonian. We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.
Well, that was honest. It seems Gal Gadot understands the importance of representation, although finding an appropriate actress who was also Macedonian was seemingly difficult. And ultimately she was passionate about playing that role, despite the inevitable backlash that would come.
Gal Gadot’s comments to BBC Arabic is the first time anyone from Cleopatra has addressed the criticism over her role. The subject of onscreen representation has been an ongoing conversation within the entertainment industry. Communities of color have taken particular umbrage with whitewashing, and as a result Gadot has gotten some backlash for her upcoming historical role.
Later in the same interview, Gal Gadot went on to explain why her role in Cleopatra means so much to her. She seems to believe the story is a universal one that will appeal to all different sorts of moviegoers. As she went on to say,
I have friends from across the globe, whether they’re Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist, or Jewish of course… People are people, and with me I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honor this amazing historic icon that I admire so much.
On top of playing one of the most iconic female superheroes in comic book history, it looks like Gal Gadot is ready to play yet another beloved figure. Namely, Cleopatra herself. We’ll just have to wait and how the conversations around whitewashing continue as the film finally starts production.
For now, Gal Gadot is likely focused on the upcoming release of Wonder Woman 1984. Patty Jenkins’ 2017 original movie was a massive success, and proved what the DCEU was capable of. The long-awaited sequel is finally arriving, with Warner Bros. putting out the movie in both theaters and HBO Max simultaneously.
Gal Gadot has faced a fair amount of public criticism since becoming famous with her role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman’s appearance has been dissected, and there were judgements made about the actress’ musculature. But Gadot seems to be taking the Cleopatra backlash seriously, and was happy to address concerns about her casting.