A couple of years ago it was reported that Denis Villeneuve was going to helm a new film about Cleopatra, but it seems that film (if it ever materializes) will have some competition. It was just announced that “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot will reunite for their own version of “Cleopatra,” for Paramount Pictures.
Deadline has the scoop, which details that the deal for the new telling of the epic story of the Egyptian Queen of the Nile was closed over the weekend, with Paramount and President Emma Wats winning an auction over Universal, Warner Bros., Netflix and Apple. This new retelling will be scripted by Laeta Kalogridis, who wrote Oliver Stone‘s sword-and-sandals epic “Alexander” and served as the creator of Netflix’s recently canceled “Altered Carbon.” The film will be produced by Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven, Jenkins, Gadot, and her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures partner Jaron Varsano, with Kalogridis also serving as executive producer.
This new, female-driven take of the “Cleopatra” epic with Gal Gadot in the lead was reportedly given an “accelerated timetable,” with Kalogridis set to begin writing the big-budget film immediately in order to “mount a big budget theatrical release film as quickly as possible.”
It is certainly exciting to see a film version of “Cleopatra” being helmed by women, since the story has long been told by men, most notably in the 1963 Joseph Mankiewicz-directed “Cleopatra” starring Elizabeth Taylor. That film managed to win four Oscars and become a big box office hit, but it nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox at the time. Since then, Hollywood has tried for years to make a new film about the Queen of the Nile, including one from Sony Pictures with Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin based on Stacy Schiff‘s biography and Angelina Jolie attached at one point.
That project attracted such male directors as James Cameron, David Fincher, and the aforementioned Denis Villeneuve. According to Deadline, the latest development on that film includes a recent rewrite by Eric Roth, meaning we could get another case of competing “twin films.”