By now, in 2015, you’d think that studios would have caught on to the idea that they would want to cast a film like Gods of Egypt with actors who are, I don’t know, Egyptian. Just so that the actors can properly reflect the ethnicity of that time period. But after seeing the first posters and trailer for the film, it’s no surprise that there was an uproar over the idea that headlining star Gerard Butler could even pass as a Egyptian. Let’s not forget that Nikola Coster-Waldau and Brenton Thwaites, who also star in this film, are both white as well.
As confusing as this may sound, the film still got made, and with the all the vitriol it’s already been getting with just the first trailer and posters alone because it is so whitewashed, director Alex Proyas and Lionsgate have come out to apologize for it. See what they had to say below.
In a day an age of diversity, Lionsgate sees the error in their ways, and has made their apology public in a statement released to Forbes magazine,
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.
Of course, if they “recognize” that it was their “responsibility” to “help ensure that that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed,” then why didn’t they do that in the first place? We all know there are lists of actors that studios and directors go through before leads and supporting casts are approved. So who did Proyas and Lionsgate end up rejecting before they landed with Butler, Coster-Waldau, and Thwaites? In fact, how did they miss the fact that these three white actors were going to play the lead roles in a film set in Ancient Egypt.
If this sounds familiar, it is because it happened not to long ago with Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings where Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton played the lead roles in a big budget adaptation of Moses’ plight to free the Jewish slaves from Egypt. Again, two white men playing roles that doesn’t exactly reflect the ethnicity of the people portrayed.
Well, the film is already shot, and is getting ready for its February 26th, 2016 release. But it’s not as if any more trailers and publicity can help the film.
Here’s the official plot synopsis,
Magic, monsters, gods and madness reign throughout the palaces and pyramids of the Nile River Valley in this action-adventure inspired by the classic mythology of Egypt. With the survival of mankind hanging in the balance, an unexpected hero takes a thrilling journey to save the world and rescue his true love. Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, has usurped Egyptâ€™s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. With only a handful of heroic rebels opposing Setâ€™s savage rule, Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a bold and defiant mortal, enlists the aid of powerful god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in an unlikely alliance against the evil overlord. As their breathtaking battle against Set and his henchmen take them into the afterlife and across the heavens, both god and mortal must pass tests of courage and sacrifice if they hope to prevail in the spectacular final confrontation.