If you've seen the Gods of Egypt trailer you might have noticed that something was a bit... historically inaccurate. I'm not talking about the flying gods and the giant monsters, we obviously know those aren't real. The inaccuracy in question is the race of the actors. Egypt is very much an African nation, yet most of the actors in the movie are white. This caused quite the uproar online, people were not happy about the whitewashing of Egyptian culture.
It's a sad fact that whitewashing is still a recurring issue in Hollywood, and more often than not it gets swept under the rug and forgotten about until the next movie comes along. Studios are unfortunately able to get away with it and usually they are quite unapologetic about it as well. It is therefore very refreshing to see that Lionsgate and the director of Gods of Egypt, Alex Proyas, have officially apologized for their casting choices. Lionsgate issued the following statement:
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.
And Proyas had the following to say:
"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."
The fact that they publicly acknowledged and apologized for the mistake is a breath of fresh air, and it seems they are willing to learn from it and avoid similar issues in the future. Director and woman of color Ava DuVernay tweeted about the apology, commenting on its rarity.
With all the controversy surrounding this movie it will be interesting to see how it will perform when it hits theaters. I feel it could go both ways, either all the controversy will have piqued people's interest and they will want to see it out of sheer curiosity, or people are going to boycott it because, regardless of an apology, the actors are all still white. Which way it will go remains to be seen and in the meantime I would love to hear a statement from some of the actors. (Psst, that's your cue Gerard Butler!)