Various Hollywood films set in famous time periods of history have often been criticised for their lack of historically accurate racial diversity. Last year for example, Ridley Scott came under fire when his Ten Commandments epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings” utilised an essentially white cast like Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul in the key roles of Egyptian royalty.
Now another ancient Egypt-set epic, Alex Proyas’ fantastical tale “Gods of Egypt,” has also generated controversy for its predominantly white cast. The difference this time? Proyas himself has issued a statement apologizing for the lack of racial diversity in the cast. He tells 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.”
Lionsgate also acknowledged the need for more inclusive casting in a statement to Variety:
“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…”
As it was shot in Sydney, “Gods and Egypt” features a primarily Australian cast in the smaller and extra roles whilst the main cast is a mix of local (Brenton Thwaites, Geoffrey Rush, Courtney Eaton) and international talent (Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman).
“Gods of Egypt” hits cinemas on February 26th.