Earlier this month Lionsgate released the first trailer for Gods of Egypt, with the film subsequently coming in for criticism, not only for its overuse of CGI, but also the lack of diversity – or “whitewashing” – of its cast. Taking note of the backlash, both director Alex Proyas and Lionsgate have now issued statements apologising for any offence their casting decisions have caused.
“The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse,” states Proyas. “I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”
“We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed,” adds Lionsgate. “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.”
The situation mirrors the backlash against Ridley Scott’s all-white casting on Exodus: Gods and Kings, although both Scott and star Christian Bale opted to defend their position, with Scott himself stating: “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. I’m just not going to get it financed.”
Gods of Egypt is set for release on February 28th, 2016 and features a cast that includes Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent), Chadwick Boseman (42), Elodie Yung (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Geoffrey Rush (The Book Thief).