The Asterix Project

Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, (Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre), is a 2002 French film based on the comic book Astérix et Cléopatre by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. It was the most expensive French movie at that time.

The film was directed by Alain Chabat and starred Gerard Depardieu, Christian Clavier and Monica Bellucci. It sold 14,557,020 tickets in France.


The Egyptian queen Cleopatra (Monica Bellucci) bets against the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar (Alain Chabat) that her people are still great, even if the times of the Pharaohs have long passed. She vows (against all logic) to build a new palace for Caesar within three months. Since all her architects are either busy otherwise or too conservative in style, this ambiguous honour falls to an architect named Edifis/Numerobis (Jamel Debbouze).

Edifis is to build the palace and be covered in gold or, if not, his fate is to be eaten by crocodiles. Edifis calls upon an old friend to help him out: the fabulous Druid Getafix/Panoramix (Claude Rich) from Gaul, who brews a fantastic potion that gives the drinker supernatural strength. In order to help and protect the old Druid, Asterix (Christian Clavier) and Obelix (Gérard Depardieu) accompany him on his journey to Egypt. Asterix falls in love with an Egyptian woman named Guimieukis (Noémie Lenoir).

Edifis/Numerobis's rival architect Artifis/Amonbofis (Gérard Darmon) tries to incite a rebellion among Edifis's workers. Getafix brews some potion and construction resumes. When Julius Caesar gets wind of the project succeeding, he has the building site attacked by his troops in order to win the bet and not lose face. But just like the local pirates, he hasn't counted on Asterix and Obelix.

The movie relies on layers of cultural jokes, many of them from the original graphic novels by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo; more were added by the screenwriters, including many references to current popular culture: Caesar's military commander, Caius Céplus, is named for the abbreviation of production company Canal+ (and is spelt "Caius C+" in the English subtitles), and parodies Darth Vader. There's also a scene of a goat being lowered into the crocodile enclosure to be devoured in the similar manner to a bull that got eaten by velociraptors in Jurassic Park. Some jokes require a knowledge of French society, habits, etc. while others make use of the historical setting for humorous effect: Cleopatra asks her court painter (played by Claude Berri, the film's producer and a renowned contemporary art collector) to paint her "not in profile, for once" (taking a Mona Lisa pose) and he demurs, saying he's not into "modern art." Also the fight between Edifis and Artifis is similar to those kung fu flicks from Hong Kong.

Dubbed English version[]

Miramax Films re-edited the film, cutting approximately 21 minutes and dubbing the movie into English using an American cast. The English script added many new jokes for the American audience, including more references to modern popular culture (Edifis continually calls Getafix a "droid", for example; this pun was already hinted in the french version though, the actor playing Edifis being of north-african ascendance pushing on his distinctive accent to create a subtle confusion between "droid" and "druid"), and some changes in characterisation, most notably Obelix who appears far less stupid than usual. The dubbed dialogue uses some of the original English names, but the rest are either reused from the American English translation of the original album, or newly invented names. This is most notable among minor characters; the pirate crew, for example, are referred to by the names of famous rock and roll musicians (including John, Paul, George and Ringo) just before a cry of "let's rock and roll!"

The English language subtitles for other markets are a straight translation of the French dialogue, with only the names changed to match the original English translation of the album. The version released on DVD in the Australia by Madman Entertainment contains two discs, one the original French version (with multiple language subtitles) and the other the Miramax edit.


Character Original actor English voice
Obelix Gérard Depardieu Dominic Fumusa
Asterix Christian Clavier David Coburn
Edifis Jamel Debbouze Yul Vazquez
Otis Édouard Baer David Cowgill
Cleopatra Monica Bellucci Diane Neal
Julius Caesar Alain Chabat T. Scott Cunningham
Michel Elias (voice)
Getafix Claude Rich Philip Proctor
Criminalis Gérard Darmon Tom Weiner
Cellularservis Isabelle Nanty Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Kittypus Chantal Lauby Edie Mirman
Sucettalanis Marina Foïs Bridget Hoffman
Gluteus Maximus Dieudonné Lex Lang
Caius Lucius Jean-Paul Rouve Tom Kenny
Bloody Beard Bernard Farcy Bob Papenbrook
Gimmeakis Noémie Lenoir Peggy O'Neal
The Tiler Zinedine Soualem Sean McPhillips
Narrator Pierre Tchernia Erik Bergmann
Crustaceous Jean Benguigi Barry Stigler
Bloody Beard's Daughter Sophie Noël Lia Sargent
Crow's Nest Lookout Mouss Diouf Stuart Robinson
Peg Leg Michel Crémadès Philip Proctor
Sculptor Abdel Soufi Stuart Robinson

Additional Voices[]

  • Original actor: Pierre Tchernia (Caius Gazpachoandalus), Edouard Montoute (Nexusis), Fatou N'Diaye (Ex-libris), Monia Meflahi (forget-me-not), Dominique Besnehard (The taster), Mohamed Nesrate (The Chief of the Guards), Joël Cantona (Gallic Forest Centurion), Cyril Raffaelli (Gallic forest legionnaire), Samson Leguesse (Captain Napadélis), Fathi Alwalidi (Marin Napadélis), Claudio Azzopardi (Marin Napadélis), Alexander John Psaila (Marin Napadélis), Philippe Chany (Maori Nataf), Robert Kechichian (Pirate Crew Member), John Agius (Pirate Crew Member), Christian Gazio (Pirate Crew Member), Kurt Chetcuti Bonarita (Pirate Crew Member), Anthony Agius (Pirate Crew Member), Joseph Briffa (Pirate Crew Member), Francis Chircop (Pirate Crew Member), Alfred Cuschieri (Pirate Crew Member), Georges Custo (Pirate Crew Member), Pacifico Galea (Pirate Crew Member), Carmelo Mamo (Pirate Crew Member), Godwin Scerri (Pirate Crew Member), Charles Trois (Pirate Crew Member), Abdellatif Doulfakar (trumpet ringer), Carole Chabat (The lentil worker), Louis Leterrier (Ouhecharlis), Yves Domenjoud (ZZ Top Worker), Bruno Vatin (ZZ Top Worker), Thierry Lemaire (ZZ Top Worker), Emma de Caunes (Caesar's secretary), Abderrahim Daris (The caravan leader), Max Chabat (The pyramid child), Sujan Tiang (japanese tourist), Dong Ming Zhang (japanese tourist), Ling Lin Wang (japanese tourist), Gazouz Azelarab (japanese tourist), Med Habib (japanese tourist), Momo Debbouze (Sphinx Seller), Yvon Moreno (Passant Imhotep), Liana Chliakina (Amazon Caesar), Ingrid Guérin (Amazon Caesar), Océane Lavergne (Amazon Caesar), Mohamed Seydou Diallo (cake slave), Patou (Gaoler), Claude Berri (Painter Cleopatra), Atik Mohamed (Gardener), Patrick Bordier (menubestofmore), Alex Berger (Caius Tchounus Mogulus), Victor Loukianenko (Brutus), Candide Sanchez (Legionnaire pushed back), Cyril Casmèze (Four-legged legionnaire), Jean-Pierre Bacri (The voice of the lobster commentator), Pascal Vincent (catapult legionnaire), Pierre-François Martin-Laval (catapult launcher), Jean-Pierre Lazzerini (Laconic Legionnaire), Xavier Maly (Laconic Legionnaire), Coco Bakonyi (Centurion Hotelcostus), Maurice Barthélémy (Legionnaire Couloirdebus), Laurent Biras (Legionnaire Francorus), Larbi Idrissi (The buyer), Mohamed Inqaoui (Merchant), Emmanuel Lanzi (Catapulted Roman), Abdelkader Lofti (Omar), Mathieu Kassovitz (Banquet physiognomist), Kamal Temal (An Egyptian guard)
  • English voice: Matt Adler, Stephen Apostolina (Hutchus, "Superpower" Soldier #2, Flying thru Intersection Soldier), Kirk Baily, Steve Blum (Starskyus, "Superpower" Soldier #1), Steve Bulen (Documentary Narrator, Catapult Commander, Slave Driver with Horn), Steve Cassling, David Coburn (Banquet Doorman), David Cowgill (Nazi Commandant, Old Hayseed), Dan Edelstein (Roman on Horseback), Elisa Gabrielli, Jason Harris (Young Hayseed, Cat), Tom Kenny ("My Bad" Soldier), Steve Kramer, Matthew Labyorteaux, Lex Lang (Jailer, Gaul Forest Centurion), Jonathan Nichols, Paul Pape, Stuart Robinson (Roman Drill Instructor), Michael Sorich (Cleopatra's Portraitist, Bribed Boatman)