Gal Gadot has reportedly been cast to play Cleopatra in an upcoming biopic helmed by director Patty Jenkins. This duo turned out a widely loved movie a couple of years ago that you may have heard of: Wonder Woman.
It’s the only good movie from the Justice League cinematic universe to date. Their take on Cleopatra should be strong and entertaining. Can they find a way to work Chris Pratt into it?
Some people have a problem with Gadot being cast as the legendary yet still mysterious pharoah who stole Caesar’s heart and divided an empire. Gadot’s crime: She’s not Egyptian.
Pakistani journalist Sameera Khan blasted the casting, which was reported Sunday, in a tweet that has stirred widespread discussion on the platform.
“Which Hollywood dumbass thought it would be a good idea to cast an Israeli actress as Cleopatra (a very bland looking one) instead of a stunning Arab actress like Nadine Njeim? And shame on you, Gal Gadot. Your country steals Arab land & you’re stealing their movie roles… smh,” Kahn wrote.
Mr. Khan ought to study history a bit more closely. It’s true, Gadot isn’t Egyptian. It may be news to him and many others that neither was Cleopatra.
Cleopatra was born in Egypt, sure enough, but she was not of Egyptian or Arab blood. She was the last of the Ptolemies, a Macedonian/Greek dynasty that conquered and then ruled Egypt around 305 B.C. They ruled until Cleopatra’s suicide around 30 B.C.
Cleopatra could be labeled a white European colonialist who benefited from subjugating and even enslaving others. Change my mind, as the meme goes.
It’s easy to take Mr. Khan’s knee-jerk reaction as anti-Semitism, because that’s more than likely what it is. Still, he shouldn’t demand an Arab actress to play the role of a non-Arab. That would be just as much “cultural appropriation” (a ridiculous, race-based term) as Gadot taking on the role, since Cleopatra was not in fact Arab.
Here’s a novel idea: How about letting the director choose whichever actresses and actors she wants based on how she wants the roles performed (plus marketing and other considerations, which, when Gal Gadot is in the frame, will mean a lot)? Ultimately it’s the movie maker’s call, or should be. Get racist “wokeness” and any other politics out of it.
Gadot announced the role on Twitter, a forum not known for rational discussion of anything.
As you might have heard I teamed up with @PattyJenks and @LKalogridis to bring the story of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, to the big screen in a way she’s never been seen before. To tell her story for the first time through women’s eyes, both behind and in front of the camera. pic.twitter.com/k5eyTIfzjB
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) October 12, 2020
Honest take: According to history, we have no real idea what Cleopatra looked like, but it’s not difficult at all to imagine Gal Gadot just owning this role.
This isn’t the first time Gadot has been slammed for taking on a major movie role. Some actually criticized her for portraying the mythical Amazonian queen — who never actually existed — in Wonder Woman. James Cameron also criticized her for being too hot for the role, or something. Gadot took it all in stride and will probably brush off the latest nonsense about Cleopatra. The fact is, with her Eastern European heritage, which has Greek strains, she might be a smidgen ethnically closer to Cleopatra than any actress who has played her before. Not that that should matter. It shouldn’t matter at all. Whoever used to say that there’s only one race, the human race, had it right. Whatever happened to that?
Away from the movie sets and back in reality, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s student government wants to get rid of the Abe Lincoln statue on campus. Their reason: He was a bad dude because he approved the executions of about three-dozen Sioux warriors in 1862. He also emancipated millions of slaves, but the evil that men do lives after them while the good gets buried with them, said some white guy in some other white guy’s musty old play about history.
That particular case is much more nuanced than the student government lets on. Lincoln was handed a file of 303 death sentence cases stemming from an Indian uprising. He commuted all but the ones concerning actual proven murders and rapes — well over 200 cases. Lincoln bucked the politics of the day in granting any commutations at all. Many urged him not to.
Lincoln also upheld a death sentence in a case that really ought to be more well known. In 1820, the United States outlawed the slave trade and made participating in that heinous business punishable by death. Traders got around the law with various winks and nods, but while Lincoln was president the case of Nathaniel Gordon came before him. Gordon was a slave ship’s captain and he had been caught trafficking 900 African slaves, half of them children, in 1860. It was a notorious case. His trial resulted in conviction and the only death sentence ever handed to a convicted slave trader in the United States. Many pleaded with Lincoln to commute his sentence to life or less.
Lincoln had long hated slavery but he was also a pragmatic politician dealing with a terrible civil war. He could have bowed to political and cultural pressure and spared Gordon’s life. The New York Times, in a rare moment of moral clarity, urged the president to carry out the sentence: “…it is more than high time to assure mankind, that we do in all honesty regard man-stealing as a crime of the utmost atrocity….Every consideration of justice…and of public policy demand the execution of the sentence of the law upon [Gordon]; and we doubt not the President will so answer the prayer of these petitioners.” For once, the Times got it right. The Gordon case may have been the last time it did.
Lincoln confirmed the death sentence in a presidential letter. Gordon was executed by hanging in New York City on February 21, 1862. The same New York Times would also opine that “Henceforth the Government of the United States washes its hands completely of all complicity in the Slave-trade,” before later accusing the United States of standing almost entirely on a foundation of slavery via the paper’s devious 1619 Project. The alleged paper of record should have consulted its own archives.
What connects Gal Gadot and Abe Lincoln?
One thing: Aggressive, self-righteous ignorance.
Millions are clearly ignorant of history, poor critical thinkers, and have quicker mouths than brains. They’re getting too much airtime these days.
The haters piling on Gadot for being a non-Egyptian playing a historic non-Egyptian need to get a clue. Google can still be your friend, and a library can be even more of a friend. Get off Twitter. Get out more. Expand your circle of friends. Read more books (none written by Howard Zinn or anyone associated with him).
To the students who want Lincoln’s statue gone — and to the antifa dirtbags who manifested their mostly peaceful ideas by toppling Lincoln’s and Teddy Roosevelt’s statues in Portland this weekend — get a clue, get a life, and if you really don’t like America, Venezuela or communist China may be a more suitable home for you. Seriously. You like Marxism so much? Put your money where your mouth is. Buy a one-way ticket on a capitalist airline to Beijing and have a ball with Xi. Let the rest of us celebrate the complex men and women who made our history and built our country. Let us appreciate public art in peace. We don’t want to live in your socialist slavery state, not now and not ever. We like being free and we like seeing Gal Gadot portray whoever she wants in whatever movie she decides to be in.
To history teachers and professors in 21st-century America: What the hell are you doing and just what are you teaching? The left famously loves to say that people must be taught to hate. Well, someone is teaching these young people to hate the country they were born in, the freest and greatest country in human history. If you’re teaching students these terrible lies, stop it and quit. Stop teaching this trash, quit teaching altogether, and do something else where you will do less harm.
Do you know where this Year Zero nonsense that you are teaching always inevitably leads?
You’re fostering cancel culture, smearing our history, and destroying our future. Ideas have consequences. You will get good people killed, by the truck and trainload, if you keep this up.
So stop. Now.