The Death On The Nile reboot has become something of a hot potato for what could have been a home run, even during the pandemic. We’re getting an Agatha Christie adaptation from director Kenneth Branagh that stars Wonder Woman leading lady Gal Gadot, after all. Unfortunately for 20th Century Studios and Disney, Gal’s co-star, Armie Hammer, has been swallowed up by a social-media controversy (which he has called “bullsh*t”) that aired out alleged “cannibal” texts and accusations of rape against him. Hammer subsequently dropped out of Shotgun Wedding (starring Jennifer Lopez), but Death On The Nile was already too far into the thick of things to erase him.
The film did, however, attempt to minimize him in the newest trailer, but yup, it’s hard to convince anyone to watch an Armie Hammer movie these days. That’s not the only source of cast controversy, though. The film’s set to hit theaters this weekend, but two countries announced that it won’t be welcome there. As Deadline confirms, both Lebanon and Kuwait decided to pull the plug on screenings out of protest for Israeli-born Gadot, who served two (mandatory) years in her native country’s army. As Deadline further explains, the Gadot ban in these countries is an ongoing practice:
Given her connection to the IDF, Lebanon previously blocked the actress’ movie Wonder Woman from release in May 2017. At the time, the country was reportedly prompted to do so by the group Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon. Wonder Woman was also banned in Qatar. Wonder Woman 1984 was banned in Lebanon as well, however, at the time Kuwait theaters were closed at that point in time during the pandemic.
Gadot saw some backlash come her way last year when she tiptoed into the Israel-Hamas conflict over on on Twitter (she subsequently turned off replies), given that nearly any comment made on the subject is seen as incendiary by those who don’t agree.
With that said (and as noted by Page Six), Death On The Nile has a few other cast members who could be seen as political firebrands. One of them, Letitia Wright, came under fire for her expressed anti-vaxxer views. And Russell Brand got called out last year for an apparent far-right-wing bender, a label that he’s pushing back on, and that’s probably not the last word on that note. So, one can only guess how the Disney-distributed movie will fare on its February 11 release date (later to stream) in the U.S.