"Gods of Egypt" is a fantasy film inspired by the classic mythology of Egypt, starring Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, and Brenton Thwaites. Here's how director Alex Proyas and Lionsgate responded to the calls of whitewashing (via Forbes):
"The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. 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. 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."
Ridley Scott faced similar whitewashing calls when he cast Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses in "Exodus: Gods and Kings." He took a different approach, though, arguing that he could never get funding for his $140 million epic without a major name in the lead role and there just aren't enough A-listers from the actual place where the story is set. "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. "I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up."
Variety noted that "The Passion of the Christ," "Noah," "The Ten Commandments," and "virtually any other big-budget Bible movies" also cast white Europeans, Americans, and Australians. But that sounds like less of a valid reason for casting white stars than a valid reason for casting more non-white people in roles that can give them a chance to build A-list level profiles, so the financiers who only care about money become more willing to back big-budget films led by people other colors than spray-tanned white.
Fans had mixed responses to the "Gods of Egypt" apologies, but here's "Selma" director Ava DuVernay to leave things on a mostly positive note:
This kind of apology never happens - for something that happens all the time. An unusual occurrence worth noting. https://t.co/xRTEy7woWs— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) November 28, 2015
GODS OF EGYPT makes me value Abrams' STAR WARS choices more. Makes me cheer more for Coogler's CREED. We all deserve icons in our own image.— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) November 28, 2015
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