- "My father, King Ptolemy Auletes has many enemies. They tell lies against him, saying he's foolish and wasteful, and doesn't understand the struggles of his people. The worse thing is that the citizens believe the lies. Father's life is in danger if he stays in Egypt."
- —Cleopatra writes in her diary.
The Royal Diaries: Cleopatra VII - Daughter of the Nile is a short film based on Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile by Kristiana Gregory. The movie first aired on HBO on September 18, 2000. It starred Elisa Moolecherry as Cleopatra VII and Hrant Alianak as King Ptolemy Auletes. The film is a part of The Royal Diaries series by Scholastic.
A young Cleopatra travels to Rome with her father, the pharaoh of Egypt, after his life is threatened. In search of military aid to help reclaim the throne, the king and Cleopatra plead their case to Julius Caesar and Cicero.
In Alexandria, Egypt, Cleopatra VII (Elisa Moolecherry) visits her father's bedchambers to say goodnight, when a deadly snake slithers by. Her father, King Ptolemy Auletes (Hrant Alianak), pharaoh of Egypt, believes this to be an assassination attempt and goes into hiding. His oldest daughter, Tryphaena (Linda Gizirian), takes over his room and intimidates her sisters, Cleopatra and Berenice (Larissa Gomes). Cleopatra meets Olympus (Yani Gellman) to hear news of her father, but only learns of his incompetence as king.
Cleopatra, dressed as a common girl, goes to the marketplace to discover the general opinion of her father. Olympus meets her there and informs her that King Auletes is going to sail to Rome for help. She sneaks onto the ship with Neva (Marilo Nunez) and Puzo (Billy Khoury), her loyal servant and bodyguard. Before reaching Rome, Cleopatra and King Auletes hear word that Tryphaena has crowned herself queen, making their trip all the more urgent.
In Rome, King Auletes and Cleopatra are welcomed rudely by Cicero (David Calderisi), who disrepects them in Latin. Cleopatra understands the language and retorts, gaining the admiration of Julius Caesar (Jan Filips). The princess becomes friendly with Cicero, until she learns from Marc Antony (Matthew Witherly) that Cicero has been stalling the Senate and keeping King Auletes from leaving.
Cleopatra begins to feverishly research Roman scrolls, particularly the Sibylline prophecies. From the research, Cleopatra puts together a speech that she presents before Caesar, Cicero, and Marc Antony. She wins them over, and they allow the king and princess to return to Egypt with Rome's support. Back at home, King Auletes executes his daughter, Berenice, who took over after Tryphaena was strangled. Cleopatra feels wiser and knows that one day she will be ready to be queen.
Cast and characters
- Elisa Moolecherry as Cleopatra VII
- Hrant Alianak as King Ptolemy Auletes
- Marilo Nunez as Neva
- Billy Khoury as Puzo
- David Calderisi as Marcus Cicero
- Linda Gizirian as Tryphaena
- Matthew Witherly as Marc Antony
- Jan Filips as Julius Caesar
- Larissa Gomes as Berenice
- Yani Gellman as Olympus
- Noah Klar as Young Servant
Crew and credits
Home video releaseCleopatra VII - Daughter of the Nile was first released on video tape in September 2000. It was later released on DVD with Elizabeth I - Red Rose of the House of Tudor and Isabel - Jewel of Castilla under the title, The Royal Diaries on July 1, 2008.
Differences from the book
- Arrow is a cat, instead of a leopard. Therefore Berenice's pet baboon is omitted, and Arrow runs away after Tryphaena orders her guards to capture him.
- Several characters are omitted, including Julia, Theophilus, Tullus Atticus, Pompey the Great, Octavian, and three of Cleopatra's siblings, Arsinoë, Ptolemy XIII (only briefly mentioned), and Ptolemy XIV.
- Cleopatra sneaks onto her father's ship by rolling herself in a carpet. This is a nod to how Cleopatra met Julius Caesar in real life.
- In the book, Julius Caesar is only mentioned several times. However in the movie, he appears as a full character.
- In the book, Cleopatra mentions that King Ptolemy dislikes his slaves marrying, but later he turns a blind eye when he sees Puzo and Neva together. The movie actually shows his dislike outwardly several times, though he allows them marry at the end.
- Cleopatra takes a proactive approach towards getting home in the film. None of her research of the Sibylline prophecies or the pleading of her case to Caesar happens in the book.
- Marc Antony has only one scene with dialogue, while the rest of his scenes from the book are cut.
- Parents' Choice Award (2001) - Silver Honor
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