Angelina Jolie isn’t the only Hollywood creative looking to resuscitate antiquity’s most famous queen.
Slingshot Global Media is working with “Elizabeth” director Shekhar Kapur to develop “Cleopatra,” a series that will offer a new take on the Egyptian royal.
“Instead of focusing on the arch seductress made famous by her affairs with men like Julius Caesar and Marc Antony,” notes Deadline, “the show will highlight the opposite — that these men were famous because of her. It will follow the narrative of an 18-year-old girl who came to be a pharaoh and a queen — a woman who was brighter, more intelligent, richer and a better administrator and ruler than the men of her time. The series will reimagine Cleopatra’s history, reinventing her as the modern woman, a woman that understood the power of myth and turned herself into a myth, constantly reinventing herself. It will highlight her great loves and her survival in the face of repeated assassination attempts, which made her one of the most dangerous, yet most powerful, thrones of all time.”
One historian observes that Cleopatra was “a skilled linguist, a naval commander, an expert administrator, a religious leader who was seen by some as a messianic figure and a worthy opponent of the Romans. She was worshipped in Egypt for over 400 years after her death.” That’s definitely the Cleopatra who’s been largely written out of history and re-invented into a sexualized and exoticized figure by European (and later American) men for centuries. (Note the beautiful but ridiculous costuming of Theda Bara above). Hopefully this project can serve as an important correction to Cleopatra as we know it.
Kapur will write and direct the series. “Cleopatra is probably the most famous and the least known/understood figure in all of time,” he said. “Her life will reflect a modern-day parable of our lives today.”
Casting is underway.