Monica Bellucci Played Cleopatra in 2002: Just Saying

The phrase ‘best person for the job’ doesn’t appear to mean much any longer since people find a way to get offended by just about any type of representation these days and have for some time considering that now it would appear that Gal Gadot’s casting in an upcoming movie about Cleopatra is being accused of whitewashing due to the fact that the real Cleopatra could have possibly been fifty percent Egyptian, meaning she would have been darker-skinned perhaps. In this manner, many people are feeling that Hollywood has failed when it comes to truly representing the role, and yet the whining continues and the attempt to make things ‘right’ is still largely absent while the need to complain incessantly ignores the fact that Monica Bellucci, Elizabeth Taylor, and several other women have played this role with far less comment. It could be that they didn’t belong to an era when being ‘woke’ was trendy, or it could be something else, but whatever a person wants to say about it, the whole idea of claiming that something has been whitewashed does have merit when it comes to various movies that have in fact sought out a white actor for a role that should, by all means, go to someone of color or that has a similar background to the character. Interestingly though, this doesn’t apply when casting those of color to roles that were written in as white originally. Much as I like Idris Elba, the role of Roland of Gilead in The Dark Tower was written in as a white man, but no one even blinked when a man of color was given the role. Just saying…

Now, if a white man had been cast as the Black Panther, there would be a serious problem since it wouldn’t just enrage a lot of people, but it wouldn’t make any sense considering that T’Challa comes from an African nation where he is king and his ancestors have been kings and the nation is made up of people of color, which is the norm in the region. If anyone wants to cite that they would eventually welcome in a white man, Bucky, following Captain America: Civil War, keep in mind that Bucky was there as a guest, a favor to another person, and not the white savior that others might want to accuse him of being. In short, Bucky was a person that had to watch what he did and said since he wasn’t a part of Wakanda but was being kept safe within the borders. Many are also accusing the MCU of sexism and a lack of diversity, but it’s hard to think that they can say this with a straight face since the Black Panther, Black Widow (yes, I know she’s white), Captain Marvel, and other movies have been coming out lately, so diversity is being addressed whether people want to admit it or not. But has anyone ever considered putting up the best people for the roles that are being created? Or are folks simply arguing for anyone to take these roles for the sake of diversity? When it comes to acting, do people simply want to see someone that’s not considered good enough of an actor in a role that might demand a high level of skill, or would they prefer someone that can act? It’s a question that some people actually take offense at as they might see it as a dodge that deflects from the diversity issue. But the truth is that history is still unclear about Cleopatra’s heritage at this time, and casting someone that at the very least comes from a part of the world that’s geographically closer than America should hopefully be good enough. But obviously, it’s not.

It’s true, whitewashing has been a huge problem in the past and it’s not a practice that needs to continue, but if people are truly wanting to see the representatives they want on-screen, then perhaps it’s time to nominate certain actors for the roles they want to see them in, or be silent and accept the movies they are given. Seriously, when Hollywood takes a huge misstep in casting it’s fairly obvious, but if there’s a way to make it work, such as The Great Wall with Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal, then the story might actually benefit from a blending of races if only to bring them together in a common cause. But for a movie like Cleopatra, to highlight a woman that was historically not 100 percent Egyptian, according to HISTORIANS, it feels silly to squabble over such an issue since many people still look at Liz Taylor and her portrayal of the famous ruler as a great work of cinema. The outrage over casting decisions these days can be likened to the tantrums of children that aren’t getting their way, simply because they’d rather rant and rave than propose a meaningful solution.

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