Outrage as Israeli actress Gal Gadot announces Cleopatra role
Gadot, who previously served in the Israeli army, announced she will be starring in the upcoming film by director Patty Jenkins
"I love embarking on new journeys, I love the excitement of new projects, the thrill of bringing new stories to life," Gadot wrote.
"Cleopatra is a story I wanted to tell for a very long time. Can’t be more grateful about this A team," she added,
The news was widely criticised online with many denouncing a decision to cast an Israeli actress, of European background, as the legendary ruler, despite there being plenty of actors from the African continent who could play the role.
"How about they cast someone with North African blood! someone like Sofia Boutella! I'm so sick of casting white actors and Israelis as pharaohs and arab roles! Gal Gadot shouldn't be Cleopatra," another Twitter user said.
Some social media users defended the move, saying though Cleopatra was an Egyptian queen, she hailed from Macedonian Greek ancestry, with some noting Persian and Syrian roots too.
The Israeli actress caused a stir in 2014, after posting a picture of herself praying for Israeli forces as the country led a relentless military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip.
"I am sending my love and prayers to [...] all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children...We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!" Gadot wrote.
Read also: There's no shortage of Middle Eastern Wonder Women
In 2017, Wonder Woman was banned from screening in Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia due to the Israeli actress' role.
Gadot acquired third place on Forbes' list of highest-paid Hollywood actresses in 2020 after raking in $31.5 million this year.