However, the announcement was quickly derided as a "backwards step for Hollywood representation," with many arguing that the role of Cleopatra should be played by a non-white actress — especially since her heritage has been the subject of heated debate in recent scholarship. That said, Gadot defended her casting this past weekend by citing the long-held belief that Cleopatra was white during an appearance on BBC Arabic.
"First of all, if you want to be true to the facts, then Cleopatra was Macedonian," Gadot said. "We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn't there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra."
The actress then went on to bring up the idea that she is merely a "people lover," who has "friend from across the globe, whether they're Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist, or Jewish, of course."
"People are people, and with me, I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honor this amazing historic icon that I admire so much," she said, before asserting that someone else could make their own version of the film.
"You know, anybody can make this movie and anybody can go ahead and do it," Gadot concluded. "I'm very passionate that I'm going to do my own too."