Angelina Jolie Attached to Play Cleopatra; Should Brad Pitt Play Marc Antony?

     June 10, 2010


Like Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, and Elizabeth Taylor before her, Angelina Jolie is set to play Cleopatra on the silver screen.  Producer Scott Rudin (Doubt) acquired the rights to Stacy Schiff’s biography of the Queen of the Nile entitled Cleopatra: A Life.  Schiff admits “we have little idea what she actually looked like,” then paradoxically adds, “Physically, [Jolie is] the perfect look.”

Rudin agrees, as USA Today confirmed with the producer’s office that the project is being developed “for and with Jolie.”  As long as Schiff is dreamcasting, she threw out Mr. Jolie (er, Brad Pitt) for the role of Marc Antony.  Sounds fun.  Cleopatra’s life is surely suited for film; hit the jump for a synopsis of Schiff’s biography.

cleopatra_a_life_stacy_schiffHere’s the synopsis of Cleopatra: A Life.  Given its biographical nature, it’s essentially the bullet points of Cleopatra’s life, though it may provide some insight into the approach of the eventual film.

Her palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and–after his murder–three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way the supple personality has been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff ‘s is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.

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  • guest

    Serena. Do that first.

  • Meera

    i like to think of myself as something of an expert on Cleopatra, i have been studying her for nearly ten years now and I still continue to be fascinated by this very great Queen. I have seen most of the movies made about her, and though i was impressed by the effort put into them, i was still left with an emptiness as i felt that they were lacking substance. And today, when i heard that a new movie starring angelina jolie produced by scott rudin was being made, i felt all the more disappointed. there is something disturbing about this…why? simply because not alot of people know the real truth about Cleopatra. Picking an actress like angelina jolie, no matter how attractive she may be, is not a good option; as it will obviously mean yet another agressive and sexually charged trashy “epic” like Alexander or Beowulf. If I made a Cleopatra movie, I would:

    1- GET AN UNKNOWN- because our image of Cleopatra is quite cliched and very messed up, bringing a famous actor would only add to the confusion, we would be so caught up in thinking about “jolie” rather than “CLEOPATRA”

    2- BASE IT ON MARGARET GEORGE'S BOOK- This is the best historical novel i have ever read, it is human, it is factual and it is richly descriptive, as any novel should be. And most importantly , it is perfect material for a successful movie.

    3- BE SINCERE- Why doesnt scott rudin tell us why he's making the film? does it really mean anything to him or is it just another moneymaking scheme? this is a film about someone who gave their life for others, someone who is not just a glamour girl worthy of hollywood's decadent attentions. So WHY??? if he's making it for selfish reasons, then it would be better for him TO JUST STOP. Otherwise, it will surely fail in moving audiences, they are not going to get it. why? it's just another epic movie. which is a shame, because it is like saying CLeopatra is just another queen. I have bad feeling that he will put all the epic cliches into this film; every scene is miserable, depressing, the ending is tragic, the colours are dull or overly exaggerated, and everything is viewed from a eurocentric perspective.

    Don't say i did not warn you. but i am sure the self respecting viewer would not at all be impressed. I think we are sick of seeing the same rubbish being thrown at us in the cinema. Who's with me?
    hey guys, since this is quite a hot topic these days, i'd like to bust a few famous myths about Cleopatra:

    MYTH1- SHE WAS UGLY- this is a very popular story, as some historians deduce from her coins that was ugly by modern and ancient standards. NOT TRUE. All sources point to the other end of the argument that she was in fact good looking if not 100% Beauty Queen. “Being brilliant to look upon and to listen to, with the power to subjugate every one” Dio Cassius, ancient historian. The coins, far from being an accurate depiction, were exaggerated to make Cleopatra look more masculine (more like Mark Antony in fact) and to emphasize her “masculine” ability to rule (we must remember that she was a woman in a man's world). On another level, a lot of people have this image of Cleopatra as being “black” or “african”. I see many of these comments out there. there is actually no evidence to suggest that she had african blood, rather she was descended from Macedonian Greeks, many of which shared more in common with meditteranean or even slavic peoples than african races. This is also confused with the fact she came from egypt…of course she may have had some egyptian or african blood from her mother's side, but that is still unknown. However, she a gread affinity for Egypt and thus may have been more egyptian in spirit than macedonian … in my opinion though, it does not matter which race she came from, rather she that inspires all races.

    Also not true; Cleopatra was certainly not the overly sentimental /tragic shakespearian herione we think she was. Of course she would have felt like dying when she heard about his death, but she was first and foremost a queen, and could not just “dissappear” . she tried to kill herself, but octavian stopped her. she bore the pain of facing him first. She insured her children's safety. She then commited suicide because she did not want to be humiliated in front of Rome (paraded in a triumph). Also, there are theories popping up that Octavian killed her or wanted her to kill herself. Also not true. Octavian wanted glory and wanted to show the Romans his prize in the victory parade, and so was very upset when he heard of her suicide. Perhaps he suspected it, but in no way did he desire it. He completely swayed the romans against her, he threw her at the historical world as nothing but a whore, so why would he to want to glorify her? it would be illogical for him to do so.
    “But Caesar, when he could not in any way resuscitate Cleopatra, felt both admiration and pity for her, and was excessively grieved on his own account, as if he had been deprived of all the glory of his victory”. Dio Cassius

    this really angers me. People misuse Cleopatra as an excuse for their filfthy behaviour/desires. Look around you, Cleopatra in pop culture is anything but respectful, she is the temptress who ensnares men in her lust. She is the name of racy magazines, she is make-up, perfumes, even underwear!
    but would the real Cleopatra not been so lustful. First of all it would have ruined her image as a good ruler. She in fact had no other lovers but Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She begot children from them. And she was faithful; no records of other lovers are there, she knew who to love and how to love, she knew that if she acted like many people think she did her empire would crumble apart. Also she modelled herself after the goddess Isis, who is faithful to her husband. If she did take other lovers, we would have known …
    thanks for reading guys

    • Lauren

      hi Meera,

      i am a history buff as well, and feel there is one thing you should check present research about. multiple people from historical, judicial, and FBI backgrounds have done piles upon piles of research into Octavian and his “desire to parade her in the streets” and found, that in fact, the man he had been found to be would not have let her live because, for her to be alive would threaten his unquestioned rule. he even went so far as to kill cleopatras son cesarian afterward so that no one with valid right to rule could challenge him.

      i am sorry but, please next time…. make sure you are 100% up to date.

      however, other than that, you are surprisingly well versed in Cleopatras life, and lore

      i tip my hat to you on that one

      sincerely, lauren

  • Cat

    ANGELINA IS NOT GOOD FOR THIS..It is true,she is cheap and she is not a good actress.I always ,must make efforts to understand what she s talking,it has no good voice for movies,and i don t think that she can learn long lines!!!she can play villans and insensitive,druggy characters…not this…please!

    • Lauren

      i am sorry but next time you wish to bash an actor, actress, or anyone for that matter, on their ability to SPEAK, make sure that what you type is actually in proper english. because of your grammar, i found my self unable to take you seriously in the least bit.

      good day, and learn to speak english properly.

  • Elizabeth Jones

    If Angelina Jolie becomes Cleopatra she can hang out with Elizabeth Taylor
    By the way I found a website that give you prizes for your opinions here is the topic about Angelina Jolie:

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  • V_r_angel1

    I am so excited for this film. There is no one better that could make this film work but Jolie herself. She looks like Cleopatra with her gorgeous face and exotic looks. Her acting ability is phenomenal and she will give the work of Cleopatra the recognition it deserves. I really hope they decide to do it.

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  • Regina

    She is awful I can’t believe they would put such an honor of being Cleopatra on a trashy woman who once made out with her own brother. I mean please anybody but her. I refuse to watch anything with her in it because she can’t act and is not pretty. She looks alien like somebody grabbed her arms and pulled them until they were way to long. She is not the right person to play Cleopatra. They need someone who can be Cleopatra and really convince me that she deserves the role. Elizabeth Taylor did an amazing job and I will not be watching the remake because of Angelina. She is an awful actress. I hope her career falls through.

  • sara

    i think it’d be great if Brad pitt played marc antony with angelina jolie

  • see saw

    —BTW is it true arch eugenics pre-programmer
    James Cameron fled the project after it was fingered
    for pushing the swiftly approaching ‘suicide culture’
    into the mainstream?