Lionsgate and Alex Proyas, respectively Gods of Egypt‘s studio behind the movie and its director, have apologized after criticism received for choosing a predominantly-white cast. The movie, which will be released on February 26, 2016, has received backlash, especially on social networks, after releasing a set of posters where Egyptian characters were played almost exclusively by white actors such as Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Brenton Thwaites.
The main critique was the lack of diversity and the historical inconsistency of the movie, as pointed out by Scott Mendelson on Forbes, “the implication remains that white actors, even generic white actors with zero box office draw, are preferable in terms of domestic and overseas box office than culturally-specific (minority) actors who actually look like the people they are supposed to be playing”.
Following the adverse reaction, Lionsgate has said, “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“.
Another individual apologetic statement was issued by movie’s director Proyas which reads, “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“.
Those were mildly appreciated, as Ava DuVernay, director of Selma tweeted “this kind of apology never happens – for something that happens all the time. An unusual occurrence worth noting“, and aforementioned Mendelson noticed the statements were “a somewhat different response” from defences made in similar situations seen in the past.