Columbia Eyeing a New ‘Cleopatra’ Picture


Columbia Pictures has apparently acquired the screen rights based on a 10-page proposal to Cleopatra a new take on the life of the Egyptian queen that will be written by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff.

The 1963 epic starred Elizabeth Taylor in the title role and while it won four below-the-line Oscars in 1964 it might best be remembered for the love affair between Taylor and co-star Richard Burton while both were married to others.

This new version is said to dispel the movie myths that focused on pageantry and Cleopatra’s skills as a seductress. Instead she will be presented as a firm ruler and military tactician who embarked on a ruthless rise to power. Cleopatra twice married brothers, killing each of them as well as a sister. Romantic alliances with the much-older Roman honchos Julius Caesar and Marc Antony helped her solidify power, but her dalliance with Antony undid both of them.

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