Universal is drawing interest in acquiring “Cleopatra,” the historical epic that would star Gal Gadot and has Kari Skogland (“Falcon and the Winter Soldier”) attached to direct, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap. However, no deals are in place.
The project was set at Paramount, but another individual with knowledge says this is no longer the case.
“Wonder Woman” filmmaker Patty Jenkins, who was originally attached to direct “Cleopatra,” is still serving as an executive producer alongside Charles Roven of Atlas Entertainment and Gadot, who is producing via her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures with partner Jason Varsano.
Laeta Kalogridis wrote the script and is executive producing the film about the Egyptian queen.
Paramount won the rights to “Cleopatra” in October 2020 in what at the time was described as an intense bidding war, and an exciting prospect to reunite Gadot and Jenkins in another stylish epic. Though Jenkins ultimately stepped away to focus on “Wonder Woman 3” and a “Star Wars” film.
Alongside her father, brothers and sons, Cleopatra ruled for 21 years and was the last major ruler of Egypt before it became a province of the Roman Empire. Despite technically sharing the title of regent with others in her family, she was known as a dominant ruler of Egypt at the time and became known both in history and popular culture for her romantic and political relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
Hollywood has tackled Cleopatra’s life several times in the past, most famously in the 1963 sword-and-sandals epic starring Elizabeth Taylor as the queen with Richard Burton as Mark Antony. The film provided plenty of fodder for the gossip columns as Taylor and Burton had an affair while portraying Cleopatra and Antony’s romance onscreen. Despite being the highest-grossing film that year and winning four Oscars from nine nominations, “Cleopatra” was initially a flop as numerous shooting scandals, including director and cast changes, led to the film becoming the most expensive production in Hollywood history at the time.
Gadot last starred in “Death on the Nile” from earlier this year and in “Red Notice” for Netflix.
Deadline first reported the news.