I’m a huge Angelina Jolie fan, have been for a very long time, and probably will be for some time to come. That being said, I think there are a BEVY of other beautiful and talented actresses who could portray Cleopatra Queen far better. Word on the street is this movie is based on the book Cleopatra: A Life written by Pulitzer-prize winner Stacy Schiff. I haven’t read it yet (and you haven’t either) because it isn’t even available until November 2010. Perhaps it will follow the belief that Cleopatra is descended from the Greek Macedonian, Ptolemy Soter, of the Ptolemy dynasty, and friend to Alexander the Great.
Imagine for a moment that this movie could be the very first Cleopatra biopic made by a major studio where an ethnic looking actress stars as the iconic, legendary and almost mythical Cleopatra. I have here a list of five actresses that I feel would be a better fit for the part. With one of these five actresses on board, all it would need is a stellar script and I could see this movie becoming a Hollywood blockbuster!
Any woman who can look as regally gorgeous and brilliant as a blue alien as Zoe Saldana did in Avatar, has my vote. There is something dynamic and riveting about this actress, whose career is very much on the rise. She is strong and her presence on screen is energizing, yet she also possesses that believable essence of vulnerability and femininity that doesn’t come across as being diminished by weakness. She could definitely rock the Cleopatra ensemble and embody the ancient queen’s charisma, ruthlessness, as well as her softer side and still be convincing.
It’s not just because I’ve been accused of being her doppelganger that Rosario Dawson is on my list. This woman is a very extraordinary actress and if she is good enough for Spike Lee, well she is more than good enough for Marc Antony. In my humble opinion, we don’t get to see enough of her. Last time we saw her, she was perfectly charming and impish as Persephone in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. She was absolutely fierce in Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse: Death Proof, but it was her turn as Maya in Descent that really got under my skin. She was excellent as a violated and tormented student who has to make a ruthless choice to exact revenge. A very tough performance on many levels, but Rosario Dawson gave the brutality of this role the humanity it desperately needed in order to work. Dawson would be more than up to the challenge of Cleopatra.
Taraji P. Henson
Here is a lady who embodies courage, grace and steadfast determination. I watched with amazement as she played Queenie, Brad Pitt’s mother in Benjamin Button. She was very convincing as the Hollywood icon’s matriarch, which is a hard thing to do even if a movie isn’t fantastical, and Benjamin Button definitely asked us to suspend our disbelief. Yet never for a minute did I doubt she was his mother. Even as she became an elderly woman, much, much older than Brad Pitt’s character, never once did my belief waver. She received high praise from her piers, even veterans like Brad sang her praises. Her performance even scored an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. This acknowledgment of her acting talent is something which has made her visible to the masses, even though she had a long list of performances — Smokin’ Aces and Hustle & Flow to name a few — before starring alongside Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchette. I am more than convinced, Taraji P. Henson would wear Cleopatra’s crown with authority.
Let us not forget this singing sensation. She has proven to be much more than just a Bootylicious siren of dazzling proportions. She is a woman who possesses some mad talent, a stellar presence, and some serious acting chops. As a girl, she had dreams as high as the loftiest stars in the universe. Her determination and utmost belief in her abilities has propelled her to super star status. If there is one woman who knows about ambition and conquering the world, it’s Beyonce Knowles. Cleopatra was also a woman of fierce determination and ambition. She not only managed to conquer Marc Antony, she conquered the legendary Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome before that. As we all know, the Roman Empire was essentially the world, and Cleopatra was definitely on top, if only for a while. Maybe the infamous queen could have learned a thing or two about longevity from Beyonce, and I have no doubt Cleopatra would have been one of Beyonce’s biggest fans, too.
Need I say more? In a nutshell, Halle Berry is the embodiment of everything a queen could be. Charisma, presence, dignity, regal demeanor, determination, ambition, stoic strength, grace, beauty. With a single glance she could either wither you where you stand, or have you ready to do anything she would bid you to do. An amazing actress, Halle Berry has done it all. She has such courage and conviction, and when she commits to a role, she becomes the role and there is no line that denotes where Halle Berry the actress ends, and the character she portrays begins. She is a titan of cinema, breaking boundaries with the tremendous realism of her portrayals. She is an actress that can effortlessly capture every nuance and subtlety of a role, and is a woman that will give you a winning performance each and every time. It is no wonder that Halle Berry is a bona fide, history making Oscar winner. Cleopatra would be honored for sure to have Halle Berry wear her crown as the Queen of the Nile.
There you have it. It doesn’t mean I’m not a huge Angelina Jolie fan, because I am. It just means I want to see something different and with true, daring originality. I want Hollywood to break the mold, to really think outside the box, to explore new frontiers and dare to be unconventional, diverse and do something unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Besides, remember all the mumblings when Angelina Jolie took on the role of Marianne Pearl? Let’s not resurrect those old grumblings along with Cleopatra’s ghost.