Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cleopatra Casting

File this under "find something more important to complain about". (Yes, I note the irony of me complaining about something as petty as a complaint that I consider petty). The gist of the opinion piece is that there's something wrong with casting Angelina Jolie to play the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra because Jolie is white. Let's begin with the obvious.

CLEOPATRA WAS GREEK. And I don't mean modern Greek, with the financial collapsing and hatred of Turks who never did anything to them except perfect the kabob. I mean ancient Greek, with the plays and the gods and battles that were inaccurately described but man you weren't there so you wouldn't understand. She was descended from the Greek generals who served under Alexander (literally, ha ha get it, Alexander was totally Brokeback Macedonia if you get my drift). There was likely some interbreeding in her genetic tree, but as the author of the article concedes, there's really no more evidence that she was black than white Mediterranean.

That said, are there better reasons to not cast Angelina Jolie? I'll start with the most obvious--she has not appeared in a film that did not bomb in quite some time (you'd have to go back to Tomb Raider, a hundred years ago). In fact, her career has hit the "Oscar Curse" (also known as Halle Berry Syndrome) which has bedevilled so many actresses in the past--winning and Oscar and seeing your career disappear. The last major film about Cleopatra was the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor epic, "Cleopatra", that wrecked its studio financially and in adjusted dollars was the biggest bomb of all time. Shouldn't the studio be a bit wary of this perfect storm of box office poison?


  1. Brokeback Macedonia? I can't believe you went there!

  2. J--historical fact! Back then it was the norm!