Even before author Stacy Schiff’s biography “Cleopatra: A Life” was released, the untold tale of Egypt’s fabled queen was scooped up and optioned for a film. While the decision by a Hollywood exec to purchase the rights to a book and turn it into a movie is rare these days, rest assured that somewhere Frank Miller just wrote “Cleopatra Black White Red” on a napkin and promptly received a check for $6 million.
Angelina Jolie is openly being touted as the sole interest to play the woman of legendary beauty, while Gabourey Sidibe is keeping her fingers crossed that Jolie will pass. Producer Scott Rudin (No Country For Old Men, Revolutionary Road) has sold himself on making Jolie the heir to the role made famous in 1963 by Elizabeth Taylor, before she started accepting food as payment. Taylor’s efforts won Cleopatra four Academy Awards that year, but the film ended up being a box office dud. When asked if a new Cleopatra film could earn big at the box office, Rudin replied: “As long as Angie has a side boob.”
Read me a bedtime story, USA Today:
At a lunch this week in Manhattan to promote the book, Schiff and Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch said film producer Scott Rudin has bought the rights to Schiff’s book, envisioning Jolie in the role. (Rudin’s office confirms that the project “is being developed for and with Jolie.”) Schiff says Jolie fills the bill. “Physically, she’s the perfect look,” she says. Brad Pitt is a no-brainer for Mark Antony. Julius Caesar? That one had Schiff temporarily stumped.
Of course Brad Pitt is a no-brainer. And why not throw Billy Bob Thornton in as Julius Caesar? Jennifer Aniston could play one of Cleopatra’s virgin slaves, too. Then Justin Long and Drew Barrymore could show up as a goofy young couple trying to make love work. It’s a tale of royalty to be portrayed by Hollywood royalty. Hey, does anyone know the hieroglyphics for *fart noise*?
Fun fact: Historians will point out that nobody actually knows what Cleopatra looks like, so it’s possible that she looks like what I woke up next to in college after 70 percent of my weekly benders. It has also been suggested in recent years that Cleopatra may have died of syphilis, so if ever there was a case of history casting Hollywood, it’s now.