Gal Gadot, an Israeli actress, has defended her plan to play the role of Cleopatra, an Egyptian queen, in an upcoming movie despite the “whitewashing” controversy.

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Whitewashing is a casting practice in the film industry in which white actors are cast in non-white roles.

Movie critics are of the opinion that the role of the ancient queen should be played by an actress of Arab or African descent.

According to BBC, Gadot, who is famous for her role in ‘Wonder Woman,’ a 2017 Hollywood movie, said Cleopatra was Macedonian and she decided to play the role because they couldn’t find a Macedonian actress.

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“First of all if you want to be true to the facts then Cleopatra was Macedonian. We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra,” she said.

In October, the movie star’s decision to feature as the queen had sparked controversies with many calling for a black actress instead.

Reacting to the controversy, Gadot had said “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.

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“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.”

Hannah Flint, in an article published in The Guardian, had described the controversy as “a backwards step for Hollywood representation.”

Cleopatra was the last queen to rule Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt, the dynasty founded by Alexander the Great’s Macedonian general, whose descendants ruled Egypt for 300 years.

However, the identity of her mother has remained a mystery leading to speculations that Cleopatra may have been of mixed lineages.

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