It was announced in October 2020 that Gal Gadot would be starring in a Cleopatra movie helmed by her Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
But Jenkins has now stepped aside to only serve as a producer, and directing duties will now be taken over by Kari Skogland, who most recently helmed all six episodes of the Disney+ series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.
Jenkins stepped aside to focus on directing Wonder Woman 3 and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. Paramount is likely eyeing to release Cleopatra sooner rather than later, so Jenkins would have been stretched pretty thin by having to direct three movies so close together. However she will reportedly continue to have a big involvement in the movie’s development.
This will be Skogland’s first feature film since 2008’s 50 Dead Men Walking. But The Falcon And The Winter Soldier was seen as a mini blockbuster, which impressed Jenkins, Gadot, and fellow producer Charles Roven enough to invite Skogland to lead a different kind of epic story.
Laeta Kalogridis is writing the Cleopatra script, and she’s no stranger to big projects, having previously written Martin Scorsese‘s Shutter Island, Oliver Stone‘s Alexander, and Robert Rodriguez‘s Alita: Battle Angel.
She also created high concept Netflix sci-fi series Altered Carbon.
Gadot and Skogland will have the shadow of the former Cleopatra movie hanging over them a little, as that was an industry-defining title.
At the time, it was the most expensive film ever made and paid its lead Elizabeth Taylor a record sum of $1 million. It also went through notorious production troubles, but ended up pulling off a minor miracle; a 4-hour epic that garnered nine Oscar nominations.
Gadot is a very different actor than Taylor was and 4-hour historical epics are mostly a thing of the past, so it’s best to expect a very different film with this version of Cleopatra. Paramount will be hoping this one has a similar box office and critical success but with none of the production baggage.
Very little else is known about the project, so we’ll wait for more details to arrive. Paramount has not yet announced a release date for the film.