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    Angelina Jolie’s Movie ‘Cleopatra’ Was Shelved Despite Being A “Political Thriller With Assassination And Sex”. Here’s Why

    Cleopatra‘s epic is known to every generation that lived since her reign. The bold queen destroyed many kingdoms and built some of her own on the rubble, even at the expense of everything she had inherited and retained with her blood. Many put huge question marks on her dignity, because of course, how could they tolerate a woman taking control with such strength and grace?

    Despite her many achievements, Queen Cleopatra is remembered more for her beauty than for her brains and valour. Her story has, through the ages, been complicated and told in a thousand different ways. It is no surprise that when Angelina Jolie tried to embody Cleopatra in a film with a blend of romance and political intrigue, the project failed to see the light of day. Here’s what happened.

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    Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie

    The Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie was all set to play the legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra in an upcoming film. Cleopatra’s story has always been controversial in a way that many historians across the world are still fighting over something as basic as her race and the color of her skin. It is not hard to imagine why a high-end film being made about Cleopatra with a white-skinned megastar in the lead would draw controversy.

    The film’s screenwriter Brian Helgeland spilled the beans about some details of the film and the reason it got shelved during a recent interview with Inverse. Helgeland described the film as a mix of “political thriller with assassinations and sex“. Woven around Cleopatra’s love affairs with Caesar and Marc Antony, the film would have delved into historical events related to the controversial queen.

    Helgeland said that the filmmakers were trying to incorporate some intriguing details in the film, such as Cleopatra’s presence in Rome on the day of Caesar’s assassination and her role in crafting Marc Antony’s famous speech. He even agreed that while writing the film, a lot of “true events surprised me.”

    For example, the day Caesar was assassinated — the Ides of March and all that stuff — she was in Rome,” he said. “The reason why they had to kill him at that time was because he was headed out of town with her. That’s historically true and featured in the script. She writes Marc Antony’s speech — ‘friends, Romans, countrymen’ — because he doesn’t know what to say, but she tells him what to say. It’s sort of her way of saying ‘fuck you’ to those guys because she’s smart enough and he’s not.”

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    ‘Dune’ filmmaker Denis Villeneuve Holds Premise For  A Cleopatra Film In Future

    Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie

    Hollywood has long struggled to resurrect the iconic queen onscreen. Elizabeth Taylor’s 1963 epic had almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox because of its huge budget. Besides, efforts from luminaries like ‘Wonder Woman‘ director Patty Jenkins and ‘Dune‘ filmmaker Denis Villeneuve have also been unsuccessful, and a definitive Cleopatra project still remains a dream for many filmmakers.

    Villeneuve’s adaptation however holds some premise, with reports suggesting that ‘1917‘ screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns will pen the script. Helgeland meanwhile said he does not have anything to do with the current version “unless they call me and want to use my draft.”

    Angelina Jolie was also hopeful that her ‘Cleopatra‘ movie would be an accurate portrayal of the historical icon. “She has been very misunderstood,” Jolie said of Cleopatra during an interview with The Telegraph. “I thought it was all about the glamour, but then I read about her and she was a very strong mother, she spoke five languages and she was a leader.”

    My performance will never be as lovely as Elizabeth’s,” Jolie said. “We are trying to get into a different truth about her as a pharaoh in history and not as a sex symbol, because she really wasn’t … Even this idea of her having many lovers – it was possible that it was only two,” Jolie added.

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    Aishwarya
    Aishwaryahttps://firstcuriosity.com/
    Aishwarya is a Senior Sub-Editor at First Curiosity. Working as a news writer for over 3 years, she has written on an array of things for a couple of media houses in different capacities. With writing as her outlet, she is now exploring the world of art and glamour. She has previously been associated with ETV Bharat and India Today as part of national editorial teams. With a fair share of work done covering national and international issues, she is now navigating through her abilities in the field of films and art. A movie and TV show buff, Aishwarya at First Curiosity tries to bring forth what a layman's eye might easily miss out on. Her flair for words and ability to convey what's between the lines are her biggest strengths. Her love for films and writing stems from her fondness for words and all things artsy. An avid reader and writer alike, Aishwarya likes to delve into any and all forms of art. When not tapping on her keyboard churning out articles, she can be found staring at books or screens, trying to find stories that'll help her explore the world and its portrayal through art better.
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