Cleopatra is a historical figure that has captivated audiences for generations. Countless books have been written and more than a few movies and television series have been made that tell the story of the ancient Egyptian queen. A new Netflix series, Queen Cleopatra has come under fire for its choice in casting the lead role, which has even resulted in a lawsuit against the streaming service, and now the director is speaking out.
Director Tina Gharvari is behind the upcoming Netflix series Queen Cleopatra. The series will combine dramatized events with historians discussing Cleopatra, including discussions of the ruler’s possible ethnic make up. However, the decision to cast Adele James, a Black actress, has already resulted in backlash, as a lawyer in Egypt has actually filed suit against the production. In a story for Variety, Gharvari says she chose the right actress for the job, and she thinks James probably looks more like the ancient ruler than many actresses who have played the role before.
In the lawsuit, filed in Egypt by attorney Mahmoud al-Semary, Newsweek reports that the streaming service is accused of “erasing the Egyptian identity” and has asked a court to take legal action against Netflix, including blocking the streaming service in Egypt. Approximately 100,000 people have a Netflix subscription in Egypt.
As Tina Gharvari explains in her piece, Cleopatra’s ethnic make up is a topic of debate among historians, and, as such, what she looked like can only be theorized. Her father was Macedonian, but her mother’s identity is unknown, and as such, could have come from a number of cultures in and around Egypt. Gharvari accepts that Cleopatra may not have been Black, but wanted to make a show that could explore that possibility. She continues…
Elizabeth Taylor’s performance as Cleopatra in the 1963 film is certainly the most well-known. There have been more recent attempts to bring the character back to the big screen. More than a decade ago Angelina Jolie was circling a Cleopatra project. More recently, Gal Gadot was going to re-team with her Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for a Cleopatra movie, but that movie has gone quiet since Jenkins left the project.
source: Cinema Blend