10 Black Actresses That Could Replace Angelina In “Cleo”

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Tina-Turner-als-Cleopatra

In the 80s, Tina Turner did an Egyptian photo shoot. In 1992, Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time” showed a black pharaoh  and his queen, played by Eddie Murphy and Iman, in positions of the highest power. We probably won’t be seeing that again for a while.

On the August 2010 Vanity Fair issue, a smoky-eyed temptress Angelina Jolie is plastered on the cover. It’s obvious; she is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Accordingly, Cleopatra, one of the most historically significant women in history, was a fine choice for her to play. Film producer Scott Rudin purchased the rights to imminent biopic “Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra: A Life,” and has confirmed that the motion picture is being developed with Oscar winner Jolie. Even Pultizer prize winner Stacy Schiff, author of the book in which the film is based, said she had the “perfect look.”

Upon hearing this newa, Essence.com commentator Shirea L. Carroll exploded with fury and told it how it is: plenty of white women have played the role; why not cast a woman of color?  Thus far, three women have played the lady pharaoh: Claudette Colbert (1934), Vivien Leigh (1945) and Elizabeth Taylor (1963). Also, with recent Tony winner Catherine Zeta-Jones starring in “Cleo,” a 2011 rock musical film about Egypt’s last pharaoh, it’s a double-whammy.

However, purist aren’t as up-in-arms over the Welsh actress playing the part of the African queen, whom some suggest was of Greek origin.  “Cleo” is already in pre-production, but here are some skilled thespians that we believe wouldn’t be so bad for the role.

1.

Halle Berry

Noted as the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, Oscar winner Halle Berry will bring charm, sensuality and interior sleaze to a conflicted character that was so multifaceted. She will make us weep and then she’ll make us second guess her actions, which are what all audiences want to see: a full developed character.

2.

Vanessa Williams

Her turn on Ugly Betty as the devious self-absorbed botox loving Wilhelmina Slater proved to us that she has the fire power to go toe to toe with men like Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar. Despite the former Miss America’s dazzling beauty, she’s got spunk and with that, she would be destined for Oscar gold.

3.

Thandie Newton

The regal Zimbabwean Briton minx played the rabidly ruthless Dame Vaako in the Vin Diesel flick The Chronicle’s of Riddick, and was the best thing in the movie. She will bring courage and a stone faced precision that the elite develop in times of crisis.

4.

Jurnee Smollett

Long gone are the days of Eve’s Bayou. When this big city girl played the Henrietta Bell Wells role in The Great Debaters, she gave a powerful speech that easily won her the debate as well as roles like the final pharaoh. Smollett would bring passion to the role, which the ultimate test of actor’s chops.

5.

Paula Patton

After playing the role of Ms. Blu Rain in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, Paula Patton did two things: She turned her career around by proving herself as a capable actress and played against type, as she could not rely on her looks. While Hollywood’s expects Cleopatra to be exquisitely stunning, she can give the role a twist.

Check out our exclusive photos of Paula Patton!


6.

Rosario Dawson

One of the most audacious actresses to hit the screen, Dawson can divvy up a feisty, animalistic, heart-renching performance in nanoseconds and why can’t Cleopatra be that?

7.

Zoë Saldaña

Known to play hardboiled women, the sassy ice princess serves up lively, in-your-face, bass-ass ingénues without batting an eye but always manages to pull the audience’s heart strings without emotional performances. She’d kill the role of Cleopatra.

8.

Sophie Okonedo

While many would not look at Sophie O as the ideal Cleopatra, the Oscar nominated actress she has played historical pieces before like Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda and has signed on to play Winnie Mandela. Plus her heritage maked an interesting argument: she is half-Nigerian and half- Ashkenazi Jew.

9.

Keisha Castle-Hughes

“The Whale Rider” star blew up as one of New Zealand’s finest actresses, and even played an unexpected Mary in The Nativity Story. Going from teen star to adult actress, this actress could transform her craft and her character via her unorthodox acting method and coming-of-age.

10.

Summer Bishil

The young actress, who played Middle Eastern Lolita in the coming-of-age Towelhead, was praised for her work. Since the story starts with Cleopatra at 14 years old, it makes since to write her in the script.

Also, check out our ‘Black is Beautiful’ gallery:

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