Ah, Gods Of Egypt. You never learned from the mistakes made by those who came before you. Like when Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings came out last year and was torn to pieces critically and socially for casting all white actors in historically non white roles.
Then this year's Stonewall which absolutely bombed critically and commercially, and was particularly criticised by those who were actually involved in the Stonewall riots and gay liberation of the 60s for making a film about the social liberation of LGBT minorities with hardly any people of color, cross dressing or trans characters included.
Basically if you're going to make a film set in a time of historical and/or social upheaval you want to make sure you at least attempt to keep your casting at least mildly faithful to the source material, otherwise you're gonna get blasted on social media for whitewashing.
Gods of Egypt learned this the hard way, and it's sure to suffer at the box office as a result (just as Exodus did) as it's currently in the middle of a race row regarding the casting choices made for the main cast. One of the stars, Chadwick Boseman who is set to appear in next year's [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) as the first black Marvel superhero Black Panther, has spoken out in agreement of this criticism. But he's pleased that it exists because he believes it highlights a needed discussion around the representation of non-white actors and actresses in Hollywood, and he's right on that count.
Chadwick Boseman: "People don't make $140 million movies starring black and brown people."
And it's not just Boseman who has reacted to this controversy. Statements emerged recently from both the Gods of Egypt production studio Lionsgate and director Alex Proyas actually apologising for the lack of diversity present in the film.
Alex Proyas: "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 apologise to those who are offended by the decisions we made."
Lionsgate: "We recognise 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 apologise. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better."
Whilst this doesn't undo what's been done nor excuse the issue, it is refreshing to see a studio and director actually admit that they've messed up rather than trying to justify what we know to be another instance of Hollywood whitewashing traditionally misrepresented social/cultural groups for profit.
The apology has prompted a mix of responses and most recently Ava DuVernay, the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Picture for her work on Selma, commented not just on the issue itself but on the apology released, and she's pretty pleased that they've stood up to take responsibility.
"This kind of apology never happens — for something that happens all the time. An unusual occurence worth noting."
When you've got someone like DuVernay taking note, you know you must be doing your apology right.