EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing from sources that Universal is circling Cleopatra, the Gal Gadot epic which was set up at Paramount with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier EP/director Kari Skogland helming the project.
While interested in the project still, Paramount was not prepared to meet the timeline that the creative elements necessitated.
Deadline first told you about the project being set up at Paramount with Gadot, Jenkins and Skogland. No deals are in place at Universal.
The package is produced by Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven, Gal Gadot and her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures partner Jaron Varsano. Laeta Kalogridis wrote the screenplay and is serving as EP. Wonder Woman filmmaker Patty Jenkins is also an EP.
Uni’s potential interest here is no coincidence given how Roven is currently working with the studio on the Christopher Nolan WWII feature, Oppenheimer.
Cleopatra is the daughter of Ptolemy, ancestor of the leader of Alexander the Great’s army. When Rome’s ruler Julius Caesar’s mentor-turned-rival Pompey fled to Egypt after a brutal war for control of the empire, Egypt became a fixation of Roman rulers. Two siblings battled for the throne of Egypt. After winning that internal struggle by appealing personally to Caesar, Cleopatra had a complicated relationship with Rome, becoming the lover of Caesar and later Marc Antony. The latter alliance would become the undoing of both Antony and Cleopatra.
The most previous and notable version of Cleopatra was the 1963 Joseph L. Mankiewicz directed version starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton which won four Oscars, and was nominated for nine including Best Picture.
Gadot starred in Netflix’s Red Notice alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds which was the streamer’s most watched movie ever with 364 hours viewed in its first 28 days. She also starred earlier this year in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile which made over $137M WW. She next stars in Disney’s Snow White movie as the Evil Queen. The two Wonder Woman movies she starred in for Warner Bros./DC, directed by Jenkins, have grossed close to $990M around the world.
Universal and Paramount could not be reached for comment.
Universal Circling Gal Gadot ‘Cleopatra’ Epic; ‘Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s Kari Skogland Directing