The internet erupted after a report from the British tabloid, The Daily Star, indicated Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie are in competition to take on the part of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.
The Daily Star, which was recently rebuked by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for fabricating an interview about his stance on millennials, indicated that Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie “will have to audition – a pretty rare ask of an A-list star.”
It’s possible the rumor could stem from Vogue’s 73 Questions with Lady Gaga where she says she would like to portray Cleopatra on the big screen.
Following the rumor, the internet had some hot, and heavy opinions regarding the potential casting choices of Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie with many believing a white actress should not play the role.
Cleopatra was of Greek decent. Just like my black ass is of African, Itialian, Native American and Mexican decent. At the end of the day Cleopatra was an AFRICAN EGYPTIAN QUEEN and shouldn’t be portrayed by a white woman! Period! I said what I said. End of discussion. ✌
— Nick Holmes-McGowan (@MrNickMcgowan) January 14, 2019
cleopatra was biracial so i’m asking the same thing. there are plenty of brown actresses
— aasha🌔 (@deactivate__me) January 14, 2019
Neither!!! To be honest Cleopatra was a beautiful and an exotic queen of color!!!! Why why is it always white women casted to play her?!! Can we not give that role to those closer to her looks and background. I vote @JLo @halleberry or any other for a change. pic.twitter.com/6olYct32xq
— Terri_⭐😉 (@New_Yo_Riquen) January 13, 2019
Ok so cleopatra was NOT black but she def wasn’t Lilly white so maybe give a brown/olive actress some shine?
— 💖Toni Childs💖 (@chikfilatio) January 14, 2019
why should an egyptian character be played by either of these people? is it so hard to find an egyptian or black actress?
— little creacher… (@cottoncandywlw) January 14, 2019
Neither of these White women since Cleopatra was not a White woman https://t.co/0Y4MqVgoCP
— Civil Savage (@Hustle_Scholar) January 14, 2019
A black woman https://t.co/bDZiQkUJIj
— Lethal Homo ❄️ (@LordeCali) January 14, 2019
A number of folks decided to have a little fun with the casting announcement even suggesting Scarlett Johannson should get the role.
Neither give it to Scarlett Johansson. I heard she’s Greek this year. pic.twitter.com/KRChfukHv1
— Anabelle (@InfinitelyJimin) January 14, 2019
But if we are just picking an actor on talent, being ridiculously hot and offending absolutely EVERYONE with the casting choice – Lucy Liu – I love that woman. pic.twitter.com/AXtT3mUXlS
— Rabid Nid (@NidRabid) January 14, 2019
Idris Elba should play Cleopatra and if u disagree ur racist *and* transphobic.
— Allum Bokhari (@LibertarianBlue) January 14, 2019
Writer Blake Northcott succinctly summarized how the internet reacted to the situation.
Twitter 5 minutes ago: Lady Gaga can’t be Cleopatra! She’s not Egyptian!!!
Twitter 2 minutes ago: Oh, Cleopatra was actually Greek? Okay.
Twitter now: Cleopatra? SO overrated. Do a different queen.
Every blog tomorrow: THE 10 MOST OVERRATED QUEENS! WHERE DOES CLEOPATRA RANK?!
— 𝙱𝚕𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝙽𝚘𝚛𝚝𝚑𝚌𝚘𝚝𝚝 📔✨ (@BlakeNorthcott) January 14, 2019
Cleopatra was famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in 1963. That film would be nominated for 9 Oscars including Best Picture. It would go on to win four of those nominations which included Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Special Effects.
However, there had been two other major Hollywood productions featuring Cleopatra. The first in 1917 starred Theda Bara, while the second starred Claudette Colbert in 1934.
The Comic Book Connection
Cleopatra has appeared in a number of comics. Her first appearance in DC Comics was in Kid Eternity #5 in 1947. She would enlist the aid of Rip Hunter in securing the throne of Egypt. However, she would also use a mystical amulet on Hunter into believing he was actually Julius Caesar.
After being rescued by fellow time master Jeff Smith, the Time Masters would go to war with Cleopatra.
Cleopatra has also appeared in Marvel Comics. She would form an alliance with Iron Man as they worked to defeat the mad King Hatap.
The Historical Figure
Cleopatra was a member of the Macedonian Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom and dynasty which began following the death of Alexander the Great. Ptolemy I, who began the dynasty, was one of seven of Alexander the Great’s bodyguards and was appointed the satrap of Egypt.
Cleopatra would become a significant historical figure as her death would signal the end of the Hellenistic Era. She would also find herself engaged in an affair with Roman legend Julius Caesar. The two would actually have a son, Caesarion.
Not only would Cleopatra have an affair with Caesar, but she would carry one out with the Roman general Marc Antony. They would have three kids together.
This would eventually lead to her downfall as Caesar’s heir Augustus would wage war against Marc Antony and eventually declare war on her as well.
Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet would be defeated at the Battle of Actium. Roman land forces led by Agrippa would defeat Antony in Egypt, leading to his suicide. After Cleopatra got wind that she would be captured and paraded through Rome, she took her own life as well, with many believing she was bitten by an asp.
What do you make of this hubbub surrounding Cleopatra?