Where Was Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’ Filmed? Locations Revealed

Queen Cleopatra Adele James
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Queen Cleopatra was always going to be a big hit because the Netflix docudrama’s announcement meant that Hollywood was bringing the greatest female ruler in history to life. The miniseries’ trailer raised mixed reactions worldwide as the focus shifted to the authenticity of its version of Cleopatra because of her race in the series versus what people think she looked like in real life. Cleopatra’s race aside, most fans of the series are just wondering where African Queens’ Queen Cleopatra was filmed.

Netflix announced the commencement of the filming of African Queens: Queen Cleopatra in 2022 in North Africa, which put the series close to the very location where the real-life Cleopatra lived. The filming covered multiple places in North Africa, with the iconic Atlas studios in Ouarzazate, Morocco, which hosted the filming of The Kingdom Of Heaven and Gladiators hosting the shooting of most Queen Cleopatra scenes. Adele James plays the lead role of Cleopatra, an assignment that caused an uproar in Egypt as many argued that the country’s history was being eroded by portraying Cleopatra as a black woman.

The choice of Morocco as the filming location still went a long way in selling the docudrama as one of the most authentic portrayals of Cleopatra in Hollywood history. The Valley Of Kings and the other great historical monuments around The Gaza Necropolis in Egypt are perfectly recreated in the iconic Moroccan film set. Adele James and the rest of the cast had a great time visiting the iconic sets in Morocco and around the Mediterranean during filming, as she said on her socials. So let’s look at the exact locations where scenes of Queen Cleopatra were filmed.

What is Queen Cleopatra about?

Queen Cleopatra

African Queens: Queen Cleopatra is a Netflix docudrama detailing the life of Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt who ruled between 51 and 30 BC.

Cleopatra is one of the most iconic female rulers in history, having been romantically involved with the powerful rulers of Rome, including Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

While Cleopatra’s controversial romantic affairs with Roman Rulers are a big part of the Netflix docudrama, the series focuses more on her leadership strengths.

Cleopatra was named co-ruler of Egypt by her father, but the male-dominated world wouldn’t let her ascend the throne without a fight.

Not only does she have to fight for her rightful place as the ruler of Egypt, a Roman colony at the time, but she also has to fight for Egypt to get its fair share of recognition for sustaining the Roman empire.

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To prevent herself and Egypt from being used, she exploits her beauty to put Julius Caesar (John Paltridge), the most powerful man in Rome at the time, under her influence.

The show also follows her struggles as a queen in love when she finally meets Mark Antony (Craig Russell) and falls for him deeply, which makes Julius Caesar angry, effectively making an enemy out of the most powerful man in the world.

Queen Cleopatra is the second installment of the Jada Pinkett-directed documentary series African Queens which focuses on the most iconic female rulers on the African continent through history.

Queen Cleopatra’s filming locations

Ouarzazate, Morocco

atlas film studios marruecos

The Atlas Studios in Ouarzazate is one of the most popular film sets in the world, having been used to shoot popular films such as Gladiator and Ridley Scott’s 2005 hit movie Kingdom of Heaven.

The set has a large hall that is often customized for medieval-style settings, which is why it was also used to shoot certain scenes of the hit fantasy show Game of Thrones.

Having been used to shoot the 1999 mini-series Cleopatra, the Atlas Corporation Studios made the perfect location for most scenes of the Netflix docudrama.

The set has clearly painted Sphinxes with the blue and red paint still intact, which helps recreate the true hall of the Pharaoh better than the weather-beaten original one in The Valley of Kings in Egypt.

“I’d never flown out abroad for work before, and then suddenly, there we all were on sets used for so many epic movies…” Adele James said while describing the feeling of being on the iconic set.

However, the multipurpose set was only used for the indoor scenes of Queen Cleopatra. The filming locations for the outdoor scenes, including battles, have not yet been revealed, but it most likely happened elsewhere in Morocco.

Other Filming Locations

Queen Cleopatra filming location

Jada Pinkett Smith narrates most of the scenes of Queen Cleopatra. It is not clear whether the narration for Queen Cleopatra happened in Morocco though.

Adele James said that she never met Jada Pinkett on the set in Morocco, so other series scenes could have been shot elsewhere.

The interviews were conducted in studios around the world, but the exact locations of each interview haven’t been communicated.

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Some scenes of the series were also done in Egypt, including expert interviews and shots of original locations in the Valley of Kings and the Gaza Necropolis.

Was Cleopatra black?

Adele James VS Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra

There is insufficient data on the exact appearance of Cleopatra, and while most previous films have depicted her as white, there is a high possibility that she was of a mixed race.

She was a descendant of Ptolemy, who was Greek, but the family had lived in Egypt for over 300 years, which means intermarriage could have happened.

The Ptolemaic dynasty insisted on marrying fellow Macedonian Greeks in the early days after coming to Egypt, but when they ran out of Greek noble women to marry, they started inbreeding.

At some point, it is believed that they intermarried with ethnic Sub-Saharans, Persians, and, possibly, middle-Easterners as well.

Cleopatra’s grandmother was a concubine, which means she could have been from any of the above ethnic groups. Some historians insist that she was African, meaning Cleopatra would be of a mixed race, just like Adele James.

It is important to remember that the Arabic invasion had not happened at the time, so Cleopatra is unlikely to have looked like most modern Egyptians.

Perhaps, it’s not just that I’ve directed a series that portrays Cleopatra as Black, but that I have asked Egyptians to see themselves as Africans, and they are furious at me for that. I am okay with this.” Tina Gharavi, who co-directed the series, said regarding criticism of the show’s choice of a black actress to portray Cleopatra.

Her comments came in the wake of a backlash from the Egyptian government and public over Adele James playing the character as the country’s former minister of Antiquities accused the series of Blackwashing his country’s history.

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