The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director, Kari Skogland, has found her next endeavor as she takes over the director’s chair from Patti Jenkins on Cleopatra starring Gal Gadot. With its initial pairing of Jenkins and Gadot, the Cleopatra film was picked up by Paramount Pictures after a bidding war that also saw Universal, Warner Bros, Netflix, and Apple in the mix. The studio feels they have a hot project on their hands and has been fast-tracking the movie since. The 1963 classic Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor was a massive undertaking that almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox, and new iterations of the film have been in development for years at various studios. But this Gadot-led flick seems to be the only one that will make it to a coronation.
Cleopatra will be Skogland’s first project following her success with the Marvel Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier last year. That show, which tackled big subjects such as race, nationalism, and justice in America, earned Skogland praise for her personal approach to its characters and situations. Over the years, Skogland has served as a director on a number of major television series, including House of Cards, Vikings, The Walking Dead, The Punisher, and The Handmaid’s Tale. This will be her first theatrical film since 2008’s Fifty Dead Men Walking with Ben Kingsley.
According to a new report from Deadline, Skogland is replacing Jenkins as the Cleopatra director, while Jenkins will stay on board as a producer for the film. Jenkins has reportedly left the director’s chair in order to shift more focus to Wonder Woman 3 and Rogue Squadron. Notably, this means Jenkins likely won’t have a film released in the next couple of years. Wonder Woman 3 is not expected to enter production until 2023 and is likely aiming for a 2024 release, while Rogue Squadron was just delayed significantly after it was expected to shoot next year. Reportedly, Lucasfilm and Jenkins are now hoping for Jenkins to return to the film once she’s finished with her other projects.
This Cleopatra film is a big get for Skogland, who has been teetering on the edge of mainstream awareness for some time now. Her partner on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Malcolm Spellman, has already been hired to write a follow-up Captain America 4, but there’s been no word on whether Skogland will also return. Cleopatra, however, is being written by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island, Alita: Battle Angel), and stars one of the biggest names in Hollywood right now with Gadot. Studios are lining up to work with the Wonder Woman star, who recently broke records with Netflix’s Red Notice. Gadot has a number of projects lined up. The Murder on the Orient Express sequel, Death on the Nile, will release next year, she will take a villainous turn as the Evil Queen in Disney’s upcoming live-action rendition of Snow White, and she’s set to play Irena Sendler in a biopic from writer Justine Juel Gilmer.
It’s exciting to see Skogland get some more work following what she did with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier earlier this year. This Cleopatra film with Gadot has the potential to be a big hit. Though Cleopatra has already been the center of some controversy, it’s hard to imagine this not at least getting some solid attention from audiences. Plus, now that Jenkins’ schedule has freed up a bit, perhaps DC and Star Wars fans will see Wonder Woman 3 and Rogue Squadron sooner than anticipated.