Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot are teaming back up for Cleopatra, a new movie in the works about the famous Egyptian queen. After a bidding war with other studios, Paramount Pictures obtained the rights to the upcoming project, reportedly beating out other interested companies like Netflix, Universal, Warner Bros., and Apple. It comes as the first major project for Paramount Motion Picture Group President Emma Watts following her getting the position in July.
Reportedly, the movie was Gadot’s idea, and the project was sold after Zoom pitch meetings describing the story in detail. Jenkins will be directing Cleopatra with Gal Gadot starring in the titular role. Described as a period biographical drama, the screenplay is penned by Laeta Kalogridis (Altered Carbon). Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven produces alongside Jenkins, Gadot, and Pilot Wave Motion Pictures’ Jaron Varsano. Kalogridis will also executive produce.
Born in 69 BC, Cleopatra was the last Egyptian ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. She also bore a son to Julius Caesar, the result of a secret union between the two with Caesar helping her to become queen. She’d later align with Mark Antony while quarreling with Rome, ending with Antony’s suicide when their naval fleet was defeated by Octavian forces. It is said that Cleopatra died by poisoning herself soon after, and following her death, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, truly ending an era.
Filmmakers have been telling the story of Cleopatra for decades, with many actresses stepping into the role over the years. This includes performances by Theda Bara in 1917 and Claudette Colbert in 1934. She was very famously played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 movie Cleopatra, which was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Co-starring Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar, the movie nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox when it was made, as it set the record for the most expensive movie production at the time. Still, it brought about incredible success for the cast and crew, as it won four of its nine Emmy nominations at the Academy Awards.
This isn’t the first biopic for Patty Jenkins to take on, as she previously wrote and directed the Oscar-winning 2003 movie Monster starring Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos. She stepped back into the director’s chair for Warner Bros. by helming the DCEU’s Wonder Woman in 2017 with Gadot in the lead role. Not only was the project a huge hit at the box office, the reviews were also rather kind, a stark contrast to many other installmetns of the DCEU. The sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, partnered the two once again with Jenkins returning to direct. As of now, the movie is scheduled to release in theaters this Christmas.
Cleopatra is said to be on the fast track to production as Paramount is looking to start work on their next big budget theatrical release as soon as possible. Kalogridis will begin writing the screenplay immediately, but it’s still unclear when filming will begin. A tentative release window also has yet to be revealed. For any fan of Gadot and Jenkins, however, it will certainly be a movie to look out for. Deadline was the first to report this news.