In October, it was announced that the Israeli actress was teaming up once again with her Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins to make the biographical drama, which she is producing alongside with her husband Jaron Varsano and Jenkins.
The casting news sparked an instant backlash, with many critics arguing that an Arab or African actor should play the ancient monarch, but Gadot has stood her ground in a new interview with BBC Arabic.
“First of all, if you want to be true to the facts then Cleopatra was Macedonian,” she said. “We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.
“I have friends from across the globe, whether they’re Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist, or Jewish of course… People are people, and with me I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honour this amazing historic icon that I admire so much.
“You know, anybody can make this movie and anybody can go ahead and do it. I’m very passionate that I’m going to do my own too.”
Cleopatra’s ancestry has been debated over the years, with some suggesting she is of Greek descent and others claiming she has mixed ethnicity.
However, earlier this year, Kathryn Bard, Professor of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Boston University, said: “Cleopatra VII was white – of Macedonian descent, as were all of the Ptolemy rulers, who lived in Egypt.”
The Egyptian queen has been portrayed by many white actresses in the past, most famously by Elizabeth Taylor in 1963.