Gadot is used to backlash from ‘Wonder Woman,’ BDS and ‘Cleopatra.’
By Pesach Benson, United With Israel
Kuwait confirmed it is banning Gal Gadot’s latest movie, “Death on the Nile,” because the actress is, well, Israeli. The film is director Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1937 whodunit.
But politically incorrect Kuwaitis are still watching the actress in record numbers.
Kuwaiti information ministry spokeswoman Anouar Mourad confirmed the ban to AFP. According to Kuwait’s Al-Qabas newspaper, government officials decided to block the film following complaints on social media.
Critics pointed to Gadot’s IDF service. She served as an army fitness instructor in 2005-2007, leaving the IDF with the rank of a sergeant. They also pointed to one social media post during the Gaza war of 2014.
That was when Gadot posted on Instagram a photo of herself and her daughter lighting Sabbath candles and — believe it or not — voicing a message of peace.
Gadot, a former Miss Israel who is married to Israeli property mogul Yaron Varsano, is no stranger to confrontations with Arab boycotts and politically correctness.
Lebanon, Qatar and Tunisia banned her breakout movie, “Wonder Woman” in 2017.
Gadot has also been attacked for playing Cleopatra in an upcoming biopic about Egypt’s Ptolemaic queen.
Critics say the role should be played by an African or Arab actress. Gadot fired back saying, “First of all if you want to be true to the facts then Cleopatra was Macedonian. We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.”
The untitled Cleopatra movie is reportedly planned for release in 2023.
A pro-BDS Muslim beauty blogger even rejected a prominent award from Revlon because the Israeli is a brand ambassador for its makeup and skin care products.
Gadot’s work in the “Fast and Furious” franchise didn’t meet the same Arab bans even though her character, Gisele Yashar, was an ex-Mossad agent. Yashar’s character was killed in the 2015 film, “Furious 7,” but it’s widely speculated Gadot will reprise Yashar in flashback scenes in the next installment, which is expected to be released in 2023.
But don’t worry too much for Kuwait. Her current Netflix hit, “Red Notice” is currently the streaming service’s eighth most-popular movie in Kuwait. According to Netflix, the action-comedy, which also stars Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, has been a top 10 hit in Kuwait for 10 weeks.
Movies often touch on sensitivities in the Middle East. Helen Mirren has been attacked for playing Golda Meir. Jordan banned a film that Palestinians claimed insulted the dignity of prisoners in Israeli jails. And a Palestinian propaganda film smearing Israel was nominated for an Academy Award in 2021.
In “Death on the Nile,” Gadot plays heiress Linnet Ridgeway. In addition to directing, Branagh also plays the lead role of Belgian police detective Hercule Poirot. Other members of the cast include Armie Hammer, Ali Fazal, Letitia Wright and Annette Bening.
The film has gotten mixed reviews with critics praising Gadot’s performance.
The release of “Death on the Nile” was held up by the COVID pandemic and then delayed further when several women who accused co-actor Armie Hammer of sexual misconduct.
The movie opens in theaters this weekend.
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