Will Lady Gaga Play Cleopatra? Casting Rumors Swirl on Twitter

Cleopatra
Getty

What started as a casting rumor, later ignited into a full-fledged debate Monday on Twitter.

Rumors of Lady Gage and Angelina Jolie competing to play the role as the iconic Egyptian pharaoh for the 1963 remake Cleopatra began circulating earlier this month; however, Twitter users began debating whether the role should be played by a white woman in the first place.

Those who went against the claims that Cleopatra should be played by a woman of color justified their argument by saying she was actually of Greek descent.

Even before the Twitter debacle, the argument of Cleopatra's ethnicity was a subject many historians and archeologist took on. While the Egyptian pharaoh was described as ethnically Greek by historians in the past, the assumption was called into question within the past decade, according to a Vox report.

In 2009, archeologists found remains believed to be Princess Arsinoe, Cleopatra's sister in Ephesus, Turkey. Researchers believed the remains pointed to an African mother.

"That Arsinoe had an African mother is a real sensation which leads to a new insight on Cleopatra's family and the relationship of the sisters Cleopatra and Arsinoe," Hilke Thuer of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, who made the discovery, said at the time.

Cleopatra painting
Circa 30 BC, Cleopatra (69 - 30 BC), queen of Egypt clutching an asp to her breast, which she will cause to bite her, thus taking her own life. Getty

Through the heated debate some Twitters included their own, personal choices for the role — one popular choice being Rihanna.

"I'm not sorry to tell y'all but @rihannah definitely has that role owned," one Twitter user wrote. "Gaga and AJ shouldn't even have been in the running. Honestly, if a black woman ain't playing Cleopatra, then NOBODY should pay the AFRICAN EGYPTIAN QUEEN CLEOPATRA! PERIOD!"

Despite the heated debate, no absolute conclusion has been made regarding Cleopatra's ethnicity; however, historically, Hollywood has depicted the ancient pharaoh as a white woman — Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, and, most famously, Elizabeth Taylor — but was once played by Chilean actress Leonor Varela in a 1999 TV series.

Elizabeth Taylor - Cleopatra
1963: American actress Elizabeth Taylor in her role as Cleopatra. Getty

Though casting has not been confirmed, a Sony executive spoke with Daily Star to confirm that the role of Cleopatra would be the role of a lifetime.

"Cleopatra was known as the Queen of the Nile, and Elizabeth Taylor firmly established herself as Hollywood's queen in the 1963 film version," the executive said in a Daily Star report. "There's every reason to think that whoever gets to play her this time around is going to enjoy an equally lofty perch in the motion picture industry."