Gal Gadot's Casting Causes Controversy for 'Cleopatra'
Patty Jenkins the director of Wonder Woman will be directing a Cleopatra movie. Unsurprisingly she has cast Gal Gadot the star of Wonderwoman as the lead. However fans are not all too pleased about her casting. Leading to a discussion on representation and ethnicity of Egyptians. See many have argued an actress of Black or North African/West Asian origin would have been appropriate for the role of Cleopatra due to the misconception that an Egypt is in Africa and therefore always been Black or Egypt is Middle Eastern and therefore always been Arab.
Some twitter users have accused Patty Jenkins of White washing due to the Afro-centric concept that Ancient Egypt is in Africa and therefore was only populated with Black Sub-Saharan peoples and therefore only a Black Actress should be cast.
Other Twitter users felt an Arabic actress of North African or West Asian origins should have been cast as Egypt has been part of these regions even in ancient times. Whilst the Arabic language didn't exist and therefore the neither the identity of being an Arab. The ancestors of the Arab speaking people groups would have existed in West Asia just next to Egypt which is partially West Asian thanks to its Sinai Peninsula. But despite this, historical figure Cleopatra being an Egyptian monarch was not of indigenous North African or pre Arabic West Asian origins.
On a humorous note, one Twitter user compared this situation to when American actor Rami Malek (who is of mostly Egyptian origin with 1/8th Greek heritage) was being accused of white washing due to playing a fictional Ancient Egyptian prince Akhmenrah. Despite the fact he is an Egyptian... playing an Egyptian...
But here we have a situation where Cleopatra was in fact an Egyptian Monarch who happened to be of European origins specifically most sources siting as being ethnically Balkan (Macedonian or Greek to be exact). Gal Gadot on the other hand is an Israeli actress whose family are Ashkenazi Jews from Germany, Austria, Poland and Czech Republic. So we have real life Middle Eastern woman of European origins being played by an actress who is Middle Eastern woman of European origins. So yeah Gal Gadot is not as inaccurate as people as saying to be honest. Whilst the Ethnicity of Ancient Egypt is heavily debated. Egypt throughout its history has been a melting pot of People of North Africa, West Asia, East Africa and in some cases like Cleopatra a few Mediterraneans/South Europeans made their way into Egypt's multicultural society. One user on Twitter pretty much links the wikipedia page in regards to Cleopatra's actual ethnicity.