Would you buy Angelina Jolie as the last Egyptian pharaoh? Well, you may have a chance to soon. Stacy Schiff’s book “Cleopatra: A Life” has been optioned for a film adaptation, with the mega-star in talks for the title role.
Details are sparse at this point: USA Today reports that Schiff and Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch revealed earlier this week that producer Scott Rudin had purchased the rights to the biography, with Jolie in mind for the starring role. A follow-up call to Rudin’s office confirmed that the movie “is being developed for and with Jolie.”
Cleopatra (who was of Macedonian, not Egyptian, descent) has long been a subject for film treatments, extending all the way back to the early silent era. In 1899, Georges Méliès (himself the subject of Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Hugo Cabret”) made “Cléopâtre,” an early horror movie in which the Egyptian ruler is depicted as an awakened mummy.
Of course, the most famous Cleopatra on film is Elizabeth Taylor’s take in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz-directed 1963 film “Cleopatra.” In that movie, the pharaoh’s Roman lover Mark Antony was played by Richard Burton, Taylor’s real-life husband. This has already led to speculation that Rudin and his collaborators will eventually turn to Brad Pitt for the Antony role.
Jolie will next be seen in the Phillip Noyce-directed “Salt,” an action-thriller in which she plays a CIA agent who goes on the run after a captured Russian agent fingers her as a sleeper spy. She then has two high-profile roles set for 2011: the action-comedy “The Tourist,” in which she shares top billing with fellow superstar Johnny Depp, and the CG-animated sequel “Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom,” in which she will reprise her role voicing martial arts master Tigress.
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