With Angelina Jolie removing the recent dearth of strong female movie characters thanks to the success of “Maleficent”, it seems she’s poised again to take a lead on more iconic female roles. And we have to hope more actresses follow since rumors have already come up Jolie may retire, though not before possibly tackling one more female role that perhaps needs a remake: Cleopatra. While we already know that she and Brad Pitt will act together in another film before long, you can’t help but picture the allusions to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in whether their next film can capture any burning chemistry.
Since they’ve been together this long, it seems they might have that magic chemistry Taylor and Burton had through their tumultuous marriage. We have to assume Jolie and Pitt don’t have the same kind of epic fights Taylor and Burton had, seemingly and indirectly through their acting. But if Jolie truly does take on the role of Cleopatra, it’s a tall order to re-enact the chemistry Taylor and Burton had on that initial movie.
Despite keeping an interesting chemistry going later, 1963’s “Cleopatra” is more of interest now to see them acting together when first meeting. It was a whole other level of chemistry, because it was the collision of two almost opposing forces being attracted to each other in a near destined way. You can see how palpable it is today if you’re willing to sit through nearly four hours of the above film.
Yes, other than the chemistry, the film was a major disappointment in its bloated majesty. Known for nearly bankrupting 20th Century Fox, it’s also one of the strangest flops because it was the highest grossing film of the year, yet didn’t make any money back due to its over-the-top budget. In that regard, the myth that it was a colossal failure has to be corrected. Nevertheless, when “The Sound of Music” later saved 20th Century Fox, two years later, you can see what kind of film took precedence over making a straight historical epic.
Since then, no one has dared take on a big-budget “Cleopatra” reboot, perhaps since Hollywood has always considered it some kind of massive curse. If Angelina Jolie truly does play the role, would Brad Pitt join the fray as Mark Antony?
Capturing Chemistry When First Meeting vs. When Married
With Jolie and Pitt seeming inseparable, it seems almost odd that she’d even consider acting next to another lead actor as Mark Antony. Some might have trouble imagining Pitt being able to act as Mark Antony, yet chemistry between the two leads is going to be the most important element without turning into another verbose historical epic with flop potential. If they can establish that chemistry, then perhaps another four-hour running time would be acceptable, even if Hollywood inevitably puts a kibosh on said running time for anything recently.
Jolie and Pitt’s next movie may be the true testing ground for just how magnetic their chemistry really is in movies again. After all, we never see it fully tested, not even on the red carpet. They hardly look at each other when seen at events, which makes it hard to gauge exactly how close their marriage really is. They also haven’t uttered lines to one another since “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” nine years ago.
It’s not a lost cause, though, because you have to suspect the magic is still there based on their longevity. If it is, then a “Cleopatra” with Jolie and Pitt might finally become the financial success it was meant to be after more than 50 years. Like the 1963 take, it may be watched more for the chemistry between the leads and reading between the lines. It may be a testament to how magnetic chemistry can still be a decade into a relationship over the fireworks that happen when first meeting.
Jolie and Pitt may also prove that chemistry can trump special effects in movies, including all the ever-obvious and busy CGI you’ll see in the “Cleopatra” battle scenes.