Universal Studios is set to pick up the Gal Gadot starring Cleopatra which was previously set up at Paramount Pictures, Deadline reports. While the latter is still interested in the project, the studio is unable to meet the timeline that the movie’s creative elements necessitate.
Previously, the movie was set up at Paramount, with Gadot and her Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins helming. However, when Jenkins stepped down, Kari Skogland, who helmed Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, was brought in to take over. Jenkins is still attached to the feature as an executive producer. Furthermore, per Deadline, ‘no deals are in place at Universal’ yet.
Laeta Kalogridis wrote the screenplay and is also serving as executive producer. Cleopatra is being produced by Gadot and her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures partner Jaron Varsano, along with Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven. Universal’s interest in the project does not come as a surprise, as Roven is currently working with the studio on Christopher Nolan’s WWII drama, Oppenheimer.
Cleopatra aims to tell the real-life legend of the Egyptian princess who ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC and was its last active ruler. She was the daughter of Ptolemy, the Macedonian Greek general, and companion of Alexander the Great. When Pompey, Roman ruler Julius Caesar’s mentor-turned-rival fled to Egypt after a war for control of the empire, Egypt became a fixation of Roman rulers. Later, Cleopatra and her brother battled for the throne of Egypt. However, Cleopatra won that internal struggle by appealing personally to Caesar. She had a complicated relationship with Rome, becoming the lover of Caesar and later Marc Antony. The latter alliance would become the undoing of both Antony and Cleopatra.
In a February interview with InStyle, Gadot spoke about the project. She said, “I can’t reveal a lot, but I can tell you that we’re going to celebrate the Cleopatra story. We’re going to show not just how sexy and appealing she was, but how strategic and smart, and how much impact she had and still has on the world we’re living in today.”
The most successful Cleopatra project to date has been the 1963 film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz that featured Elizabeth Taylor in the titular role along with Richard Burton. The movie won four Academy Awards and was nominated for nine including Best Picture. Gadot said, “I’ve watched all the Cleopatra movies throughout history but I feel like we’re telling the story the world needs to hear now.”
Currently, there are no more details available for the project.