From the moment the first trailer and previews of the upcoming Alex Proyas-directed film, Gods of Egypt was released, people of color instantly cried foul at the apparent white-washing of history the film appears to do with its mostly White cast.
Both Proyas and the film’s studio, Lionsgate, recently issued apologies to the public for the movie’s lack of diversity.
“The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse,” wrote Proyas in a prepared statement. “I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”
Lionsgate echoed Proyas’ comments and issued a statement pinpointing the need for more inclusive casting.
“We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed,” the studio said via statement. “In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.”
According to director Ridley Scott, whose 2014 film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, faced similar criticism, more times than not casting choices come down to star power and bankability.
“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such,” Scott told Variety prior to the film’s release. “I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”
Gods of Egypt, which stars Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Chadwick Boseman, Geoffrey Rush, Elodie Yung and Courtney Eaton, is set to hit theaters on Feb. 26, 2016.
Hit the flip to see some hilarious tweets (including one by an award-winning actress and musician) about the lack of diversity in Gods of Egypt.