The actress took part in a recent interview with BBC Arabic to promote her new film Wonder Woman 1984. During the appearance, Gal was asked about Egyptians who feel that the star's role as Queen of that nation is an example of Hollywood whitewashing.
"First of all, if you want to be true to the facts, then Cleopatra was Macedonian," the 35-year-old Justice League star replied. "We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn't there. And I was very passionate about Cleopatra."
Gal pointed out that she finds the story to be a universal one, and one that she very much believes in helping director Patty Jenkins to tell.
"To me, as a people's lover, and I have friends from across the globe, whether they're Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist or Jewish, of course," she said. "People are people. And with me, I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honor this amazing historic icon that I admire so much."
The actress added, "But, you know, anybody can make this movie, and anybody can go ahead and do it. I'm very passionate that I'm going to do my own, too."
In the interview, Gal also championed the project for telling the "story for the first time through women's eyes, both behind and in front of the camera." The 1963 film Cleopatra that starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
Deadline reported in October that Paramount Pictures had closed a deal to make Cleopatra, based on a script by Shutter Island writer Laeta Kalogridis. The announcement spurred backlash on social media about a white actress portraying the part.
This is not the first time that a Hollywood production has been hit with whitewashing concerns. In August 2019, Scarlett Johansson told As If magazine that she "should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal." This followed criticism of the star taking the lead role in the 2017 film Ghost in the Shell, based on a popular Japanese manga.