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Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra causes race row

June 18, 2010 12:23 IST

Angelina Jolie is at the centre of a race row with objections being raised to her playing Queen Cleopatra on screen, a role many say should have gone to a black actress.

The 35-year-old actress is tipped to play the legendary Queen of the Nile and the film's producer, Scott Rudin had said that the role is being developed with her in mind as she has "the perfect look".

But the casting has angered members of the African American community, reported Daily Mail online. An Essence Magazine story titled 'Another White Actress to Play Cleopatra?' raised the topic, saying, "Honestly, I don't care how full Angelina Jolie's lips are, how many African children she adopts, or how bronzed her skin will become for the film, I firmly believe this role should have gone to a black woman."

"Why does Hollywood think it's even slightly plausible to cast white women in roles that would be more sensible to cast a black actress for? Especially when that role is an African queen," read the article.

Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara, 5, from Ethiopia and gave birth to Shiloh, 3, in Namibia. She also has 3 other children with partner, Brad Pitt -- Maddox, 8, Pax, 6, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 2.

The film is being directed by Ocean's 11 director Steven Soderberg, who originally planned to turn Cleopatra into a USD 30 million 3D epic starring Catherine-Zeta Jones and Hugh Jackman.

The Egyptian royal was most famously portrayed Elizabeth Taylor in 1963. The casting of Jolie has been backed by Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff, who wrote the book which the film is based on, Cleopatra: A Life.

"I think Jolie will be perfect for it and I can see a possible Oscar in her future. Physically, she's got the perfect look," said Schiff.

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