Who plays Cleopatra in the Netflix series?

By Louie Fecou
Published: May 12, 2023
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Who plays Cleopatra in the Netflix series

Who plays Cleopatra in the Netflix series? We discuss who plays the titular role in the Netflix series Queen Cleopatra and the controversy that it has caused.

There’s a new docu-drama, drama-mentary (whatever we call it these days), on Netflix that chronicles the life of Cleopatra.

The Netflix original is a four-part limited series that tells viewers of the incredible story of Queen Cleopatra. The documentary, which dropped on the streaming service on May 10th, 2023, follows the Egyptian ruler’s life and reign from 51 to 30 BC.

Audiences have been fascinated with the historical character, and there have been many attempts at filming her life. If you are a film fan, you will probably remember the 1963 classic directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz, starring the fiery double act of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

However, there was also a 1972 version called Antony and Cleopatra that might also ring a bell.

However, this article will focus on the Netflix offering, and specifically, we are asking who plays Cleopatra in this Netflix show.

What is the documentary series Queen Cleopatra all about?

Queen Cleopatra obviously hopes to tell the story of the Queen of Egypt from Macedonia, Greece. Cleopatra would reign for twenty-one years, starting in 30 BC and concluding her time on the throne in 51 BC. Although we still don’t know who her mother was, Cleopatra’s father succeeded her father, Ptolemy XII, in becoming the last Pharaoh of Egypt.

It was only after her death that The Roman Empire would absorb the country. The series documents her reign.

Who plays Cleopatra on Netflix?

Queen Cleopatra is played by British actress Adele James. Fans of the long-running BBC Disaster of the Week hospital soap opera Casualty will recognize Adele from her role as Tina Mollett.

Adele is also a screenwriter with her short film Last Call.

Why is Queen Cleopatra controversial?

There has been a debate over the heritage of Queen Cleopatra, and showrunner Jada Pinkett Smith, who also narrates the production, told Netflix’s Tudum that she picked the reign of Queen Cleopatra for the second part of her ongoing mini-series presentations because “we don’t often get to see or hear stories about Black queens.” However, it seems that Netflix has ruffled a few feathers with the casting and themes.

Egyptian scholars have been vocal about the depiction, and Adele is biracial, leading to the Egyptian antiquities ministry having something to say. According to an article in The Independent, the ministry would claim that Cleopatra had “white skin and Hellenistic characteristics.”

The statement would say, “Bas-reliefs and statues of Queen Cleopatra are the best proof.” Bas reliefs are sculpture-like artworks that involve carvings into a surface, used to depict events in the lives of prominent monarchs and Pharaohs, sort of like a really old Instagram feed.

There would also be a BBC report that would include a statement from Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who has filed a complaint against Netflix. The complaint would concern the depiction of the Queen and claim the program was trying to “erase the Egyptian identity.”

Hawass would say that “Netflix is trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is black.”

In the current social climate, you can see why the show has created a lot of talking points, but the show has not performed very well, with it receiving a 1.5 out of 5 stars on Ready Steady Cut.

Netflix, News, Streaming Service
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