Patty Jenkins is stepping back as director of the upcoming Cleopatra at Paramount.
According to Deadline, the dirsector will still be working on the project as a producer. Settling into the director’s chair in Jenkins’ place will be The Falcon And The Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland. The change is being reported as happening in order to allow Jenkins to concentrate on two other projects on her plate – Wonder Woman 3 for Warner Brothers and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron for Disney.
Cleopatra was announced last October, with Jenkins reteaming with her Wonder Woman star Gal Gadotin the lead role of the titular Queen of the Nile whose legendary beauty toppled empires.
If I had to guess which project might go first, I would probably put some money on Wonder Woman 3. It seems likely that Warners would contractually be in first position, giving them first call on Jenkins’s directorial services. Additionally, when Rogue Squadron was pushed back last month from its previously announced Christmas 2023 release date, one of the reasons mooted for the delay was differences of opinion overthe script between Jenkins and Lucasfilm. If that creative back and forth is still on going but the Wonder Woman 3 screenplay is shaping up to the satisfaction of all involved, than obviously it ould get the greenlight first.
Of course, there are numerous other factors at play here, including actor availability – Can’t make a Wonder Woman movie if your star is off making a Cleopatra movie – and various other studio factors.
The story of Cleopatra has been cinematic fodder since the earliest days of motion pictures starting with Georges Méliès’s 1899 silent horror film Robbing Cleopatra’s Tomb. Theda Bara played the monarch in Cleopatra (1917) followed by Claudette Colbert in 1934. Of course the most famous film version of the Egyptian ruler’s is the 1963 Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor from writer/director Joseph L Mankiewicz.