“Red Notice” has arrived in theaters, sending fans on a twisty, globe-trotting treasure hunt with Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds as they try to get their hands on an ancient Egyptian relic. But that immediately begs the question: is it an actual relic?
The film certainly sets it up in a “National Treasure”-like fashion, diving into the history of Cleopatra’s bejeweled eggs. According to a very official voiceover, the eggs were a wedding gift from Marc Antony to the Egyptian queen, long believed to be a myth until 1907.
When a local farmer unearthed two of them outside Cairo, a worldwide hunt began for the third. As the hunt continues into the actual storyline of “Red Notice,” the film takes great care to weave in more historical details. But alas, the truth is it’s all fake.
According to Hiram Garcia, a producer on “Red Notice” and President of Production at Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, the macguffin was entirely made up by the film’s writer and director, Rawson Marshall Thurber. In fact, his story was so convincing, even most of the cast and crew thought Cleopatra’s eggs were real.
“One of the funniest things about the pitch as we took it around town is he had come up with the whole setup that you hear at the top of the movie, and during the pitch he has an amazing setup where he does this fascinating little trip through history,” Garcia explained to TheWrap. “He’s telling you about the time and Cleopatra to really set up the Macguffin of the movie.
“At the end of the pitch the same thing always came up which was, ‘I had no idea about the whole Cleopatra thing,’ and with great comedic timing he always said, ‘Oh I just made all that up.’ It has such a well-conceived backstory that you wish they were real, but no they were totally made up. It’s a very fun idea he had come up with.”
So, sorry treasure hunters, Cleopatra’s bejeweled eggs aren’t actually sitting in a desert somewhere, waiting to be dug up.
Ironically though, there are a set of famous Easter eggs in history, some of which remain missing. In 1885, Czar Alexander III commissioned Peter Carl Fabergé, a skilled goldsmith, to craft a gift for his own wife.
Instead of creating fancy jewelry, Fabergé crafted a white enameled egg that was about two-and-a-half inches tall, which twisted apart to reveal a golden yolk. Inside the yolk was a golden hen sitting on golden straw, and within the hen was a tiny diamond crown that held an even smaller ruby pendant.
Fabergé’s creation was the first of what was eventually 50 that were commissioned by the Romanov family’s two final czars: Alexander III and, Nicholas II after him. Today, most of the eggs are on display or owned by private collectors.
But, there are eight of them still outstanding in the world — no one quite knows what happened to them over the years.