The role of the famed ancient Egyptian ruler is to be played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for her Hollywood depictions of Wonder Woman.
The announcement has led to a row on social media with some alleging "cultural whitewashing", where white actors portray people of colour.
Some have said the role should instead go to an Arab or African actress.
Cleopatra was descended from an Ancient Greek family of rulers - the Ptolemy dynasty. She was born in Egypt in 69BC and ruled the Nile kingdom when it was a client state of Rome.