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Angelina Jolie To Play Cleopatra; Brad Pitt As Marc Anthony

cleopatraWell… I expect this will get some folks riled up for obvious reasons. Was she black? White? Pink? Blue? Purple? Was she Egyptian? Greek? Macedonian? What does it mean to be Macedonian? Was she an Arab? Are Egyptians black? Are Greeks Caucasian? Is the sky yellow? Is stool supposed to be brown or green? Should I eat pork?

And the arguments will surely continue… about whether I should eat pork too ;)

Angelina Jolie is officially attached to star as Cleopatra, in an epic film that Oscar-winning producer Scott Rudin has reportedly been developing since 2006, according to USA Today.

As I’m sure we all remember Elizabeth Taylor in the role in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1963 film Cleopatra, although she certainly wasn’t the first to play the part. Hers is maybe the most known.

So, who’ll play Julius Caesar in Rudin’s upcoming film? No word on that yet. Although, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff, who wrote the book Cleopatra: A Life (which the film will be based on, after Rudin acquired the rights in 2006), said that Jolie’s loverboy Brad Pitt would be a “no-brainer” to play Marc Antony.

And, by the way, director Steven Soderbergh was at one point developing a 3D musical version of the “Cleopatra” story starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, with Hugh Jackman and Ray Winstone, but that project is currently in Limbo.

24 comments to Angelina Jolie To Play Cleopatra; Brad Pitt As Marc Anthony

  • Ash

    How verrrry interesting. And Cleopatra was a Ptolemy, the Ptolemys who inherited their kingdom from Alexander the Great who was Macedonian but the Ptolemys were Greek. And NO you definitely shouldn’t eat pork.

  • Marissa

    Angelina would really go down this route after all the controversy and negativity she faced for portraying a black woman in A MIGHTY HEART? Did she not learn her lesson? Furthermore why does Hollywood keep doing this? Cleopatra was BLACK it doesn’t matter how many white women they get to play her they will NEVER change this fact.
    Yes Angelina is a good actress but she is NOT BLACK when is Hollywood going to accept this and STOP giving her roles that are for BLACK WOMEN? What’s wrong with Thandie Newton or any other women of color? Let Angelina continue saving the world a woman of color deserves this role!

    • Ash

      I don’t get how this rumor got out that Cleopatra was Black. She was a Ptolemy. The Ptolemys were Greek. She wore black wigs to fit in and appeal to Egyptian people, but she was not ethnically Egyptian. And Egyptians weren’t/aren’t really black in the sense that you mean either. In the earlier kingdoms like maybe 5000-3000 BCE maybe they were darker and you can see when you look at the hieroglyphs they were a reddish brown so they looked blacker back then. However, by Cleopatra’s time (69-30 BCE), Egyptians were much more mixed, with Greeks and all the other people that had come through either conquering or moving into Egypt from around the Mediterranean. But in Upper Egypt, which is technically southern Egypt, in Nubia, it’s hotter and the people darker and Nubians are largely considered “Black”. So yeah, in short, Egyptians are a mixed people and Cleopatra might not have been 100% pure Greek, but she was predominantly Greek, especially since the Ptolemys tended to marry each other in order to preserve their royal heritage.

      She could’ve been somewhat mixed though since there’s no way to prove that she wasn’t. But to assume she was black when there’s little evidence to support that is naive, methinks.

  • grace

    I was in Graduate School with a guy from Greece who used to tell this tale all the time — he also said Greeks invented math and democracy. So whatevs.

  • d

    Angelina is not comparable to Elizabeth Taylor. She looks like an old hag, b/witch. Elizabeth is sexy yet has soft look.

  • Angela

    The only problem I see with this film is Angelina’s tendency to camp up her classical era flicks–and Brad isn’t exempt from this either. This film could go two routes: serious political drama or Troy/Alexander. I’m hoping it’s the former.

  • Mandy

    Okay d, there’s no need to get on here and bash the lady. The real problem lies in hollywood directors and producers REFUSING to adequately research history. Yes, Cleopatra was part of the Ptolemaic lineage. Meaning she was neither completely Black nor White. She was multi-racial as most Egyptians were during this time period. Thus, the most efficient casting for Cleopatra would be someone of a multi-racial background.

    We have to remember that we have a completely different perspective on race than ancient Egyptians. You will NEVER find an account of anyone being “White” or “Black”. Keeping w/in a particular dynasty (Ptolemy) did not automatically equate to a homogeneous group of people. More objective, reknown scholars are familiar with this aspect of ancient Egyptian racial perspective. If you disbelieve a single part of this, simply go to: They have a quiz and one question asks you how Egyptians defined race. Of course there are other sources than this, but this one can educate you on other aspects beyond race…and National Geographic is indeed a credible source.

    You will see that using our definition of race to describe such a categorical distinction on an ancient Egyptian is fallacious. Especially since we tend to go with more erroneous extremes as White and Black.

    • Ash

      Thank you for saying this better than me and yes our concept of race in 2010 isn’t really even an accurate measure of how people identified themselves thousands of years ago.

  • BluTopaz

    Cleopatra is overexposed, i want to see a Nefertiti or Queen of Sheba flick.

    • Beth

      Thank you, I would LOVE to see other ancient Queens depicted in movies, not just the one racially ambigous/ unknown/ mixed/ black / white Cleopatra the VII. I’m pretty much tired of her story by now.

  • Meera

    WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS !!! i like to think of myself as something of an expert on Cleopatra, i have been studying her for nearly ten years now and I still continue to be fascinated by this very great Queen. I have seen most of the movies made about her, and though i was impressed by the effort put into them, i was still left with an emptiness as i felt that they were lacking substance. And today, when i heard that a new movie starring angelina jolie produced by scott rudin was being made, i felt all the more disappointed. there is something disturbing about this…why? simply because not alot of people know the real truth about Cleopatra. Picking an actress like angelina jolie, no matter how attractive she may be, is not a good option; as it will obviously mean yet another agressive and sexually charged trashy “epic” like Alexander or Beowulf. If I made a Cleopatra movie, I would:

    1- GET AN UNKNOWN- because our image of Cleopatra is quite cliched and very messed up, bringing a famous actor would only add to the confusion, we would be so caught up in thinking about “jolie” rather than “CLEOPATRA”

    2- BASE IT ON MARGARET GEORGE’S BOOK- This is the best historical novel i have ever read, it is human, it is factual and it is richly descriptive, as any novel should be. And most importantly , it is perfect material for a successful movie.

    3- BE SINCERE- Why doesnt scott rudin tell us why he’s making the film? does it really mean anything to him or is it just another moneymaking scheme? this is a film about someone who gave their life for others, someone who is not just a glamour girl worthy of hollywood’s decadent attentions. So WHY??? if he’s making it for selfish reasons, then it would be better for him TO JUST STOP. Otherwise, it will surely fail in moving audiences, they are not going to get it. why? it’s just another epic movie. which is a shame, because it is like saying CLeopatra is just another queen. I have bad feeling that he will put all the epic cliches into this film; every scene is miserable, depressing, the ending is tragic, the colours are dull or overly exaggerated, and everything is viewed from a eurocentric perspective.

    Don’t say i did not warn you. but i am sure the self respecting viewer would not at all be impressed. I think we are sick of seeing the same rubbish being thrown at us in the cinema. Who’s with me?
    hey guys, since this is quite a hot topic these days, i’d like to bust a few famous myths about Cleopatra:

    MYTH1- SHE WAS UGLY- this is a very popular story, as some historians deduce from her coins that was ugly by modern and ancient standards. NOT TRUE. All sources point to the other end of the argument that she was in fact good looking if not 100% Beauty Queen. “Being brilliant to look upon and to listen to, with the power to subjugate every one” Dio Cassius, ancient historian. The coins, far from being an accurate depiction, were exaggerated to make Cleopatra look more masculine (more like Mark Antony in fact) and to emphasize her “masculine” ability to rule (we must remember that she was a woman in a man’s world). On another level, a lot of people have this image of Cleopatra as being “black” or “african”. I see many of these comments out there. there is actually no evidence to suggest that she had african blood, rather she was descended from Macedonian Greeks, many of which shared more in common with meditteranean or even slavic peoples than african races. This is also confused with the fact she came from egypt…of course she may have had some egyptian or african blood from her mother’s side, but that is still unknown. However, she a gread affinity for Egypt and thus may have been more egyptian in spirit than macedonian … in my opinion though, it does not matter which race she came from, rather she that inspires all races.

    Also not true; Cleopatra was certainly not the overly sentimental /tragic shakespearian herione we think she was. Of course she would have felt like dying when she heard about his death, but she was first and foremost a queen, and could not just “dissappear” . she tried to kill herself, but octavian stopped her. she bore the pain of facing him first. She insured her children’s safety. She then commited suicide because she did not want to be humiliated in front of Rome (paraded in a triumph). Also, there are theories popping up that Octavian killed her or wanted her to kill herself. Also not true. Octavian wanted glory and wanted to show the Romans his prize in the victory parade, and so was very upset when he heard of her suicide. Perhaps he suspected it, but in no way did he desire it. He completely swayed the romans against her, he threw her at the historical world as nothing but a whore, so why would he to want to glorify her? it would be illogical for him to do so.
    “But Caesar, when he could not in any way resuscitate Cleopatra, felt both admiration and pity for her, and was excessively grieved on his own account, as if he had been deprived of all the glory of his victory”. Dio Cassius

    this really angers me. People misuse Cleopatra as an excuse for their filfthy behaviour/desires. Look around you, Cleopatra in pop culture is anything but respectful, she is the temptress who ensnares men in her lust. She is the name of racy magazines, she is make-up, perfumes, even underwear!
    but would the real Cleopatra not been so lustful. First of all it would have ruined her image as a good ruler. She in fact had no other lovers but Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She begot children from them. And she was faithful; no records of other lovers are there, she knew who to love and how to love, she knew that if she acted like many people think she did her empire would crumble apart. Also she modelled herself after the goddess Isis, who is faithful to her husband. If she did take other lovers, we would have known …
    thanks for reading guys

  • Slaylow

    Wow, how did I miss this post yesterday? So much to say/add to this discussion – so little time. let’s just say that:

    a) Agree Cleo is way overexposed. Can we get Tutankamun story? Nefertiti would be nice too.

    b) Regarding race and ethnicity; not so sure I agree w/Ash. I have many, many books on ancient Egypt (aka Kemet, or KMT), and there are scores of scuptures and busts of people who are so undeniably black (i.e., “africoid features) that it is laughable that folks still want to deny this fact. No, I am not saying all Egyptians were black, but many were – particularly those drawing from the ethnicity of ancient Nubians and Cushites.

    3) However, I have also read that Cleopatra was, at best, “mixed”, whatever that was at the time. Also have to agree w/Mandy — I have also read that folks in those days saw what we refer to as race as more incidental and did not place the value system on it that we do now; rather, they identified by region/tribe.

    Lastly — Jolie? Wow. She wants to be black SO bad, cracks me up. I’d love to see if she acted this way in 1960s Selma, AL.

    I’m audi 5000.

    • Ash

      Hey, just to clarify, not saying that ancient Egyptians weren’t African-looking. Pretty sure they were a diverse people some looking much more African than others. Speaking of King Tut, his grandmother Queen Tiye looked quite Nubian and if she was alive today, we would probably say she was black –>

      I was mainly saying that by the time of Cleopatra, Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemaic royal family who were Greek. So yes, many Egyptians probably looked “black” as we know it today, but she wasn’t ethnically Egyptian. And no, I certainly don’t think she looked like Angelina Jolie either.

  • L.P.

    Man, I’m over Cleopatra. I don’t even care if she was black, white, yellow, brown, beige or pink with green stripes. She’s not the only Egyptian queen of historical significance, but that’s all that seems to be stuck in Hollywood’s mind.

    How about a Hatshepsut movie for once, the first known female Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt? Not Queen, not Consort, not Co-Regent – Pharaoh. I’d pay to see that.

    • I’m not a historian so I’m not going to jump into the race debate but I Co-sign with L.P. I watched a documentary on Hatshepsut and it was fascinating!

      The tale of Cleopatra, as depicted by Hollywood has had its day. Also, the best depiction of her I’ve seen came via HBO’s ROME; when she was portrayed by the marvelous actress Lyndsey Marshall. I think her casting was as accurate as you can get with Cleo.

  • GBH

    This kas a lively discussion, and after reading everyone’s posts, I’m more interested in cinematic features of other renowned rulers from Egypt and throughout Africa.

    Indeed, Hatsheput, who ruled for a solid 20 years–a respectable reign for establishing peace, should definitely be considered and championed by feminists and historians for, as LP shared with us “the first known female Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt? Not Queen, not Consort, not Co-Regent – Pharaoh.”

    From Shaka, King of the Zulus to Mansa Musa of Mali to Nzinga . Mos def, these stories should be marveled and shared with the masses, and not only admired every February, if they’re even featured at all.

  • CAS

    Oh Please, get a grip the movie’s main goal isn’t about showing a historically/politically accurate Cleopatra, its about making money. If the studios thought they could make a buck with a film about dancing rabbits starring Angelina they wouldn’t hesitate. So it really doesnt matter if she was black or Greek all that matters is her name will put butts in the seats.

  • Tiger

    Won’t get my butt. Angelina Jolie is a rotten actress. I quit wasting my money on any movie she stars in, even if Brad Pitt stars as Mark Anthony, I will not buy or go see the movie. I have a Brad Pitt movie collection, he’s great, only movie I don’t own is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, have never seen it and never will. But then again, they say Cleopatra was some what of a whore, so if the shoe fits……………..

  • Brad Pitt performs wonderful the leading role of Curious Case of Benjamin Button with a particular atmosphere of likability such as he usually does. Even though I felt he does the best job with the part, he didn’t have to do much…Benjamin, fittingly, is really a rather calm persona (I’d be prepared to gamble he talks more than he actually talks inside the film). With regards to acting, the film is owned by the girls, Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson especially. Though Blanchett may be overrated for some, there is no not accepting her unparalleled natural talent at performing a persona as sophisticated and serious as Daisy, and she pulls it off easily and charm. Taraji P. Henson can heated your cardiovascular system as Benjamin’s mommy, as she is joking, comfy, and loving, so caring that i felt as if she had been my mother.

  • In my opinion Catherine Zeta-Jones would be a much better Cleoparta than Angelina Jolie. It suits her better because she has that something…she’s feminine, royal, beautiful, special. Jolie is just sexy and that’s it.