Well this is interesting. When the first posters and trailer for director Alex Proyas’ (The Crow) CG-filled fantasy film Gods of Egpyt arrived, most peoples’ first thoughts had something to do with its Lisa Frank-like aesthetic. Then, after a beat, it became clear that not only did the movie look, uh, not great, but its cast of Egyptian gods, goddesses, and townsfolk was made up almost entirely of white actors.
Indeed, Ridley Scott faced this same issue when casting Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses in the incredibly boring Exodus: Gods of Egypt, but whereas Scott defended his casting with some, shall we say colorful comments about how non-white actors couldn’t be cast with his budget, Proyas and Lionsgate have taken the exact opposite approach: they’re apologizing for their movie before it even hits theaters.
Per Forbes, Proyas admitted they they could’ve done a better job of putting together a more diverse cast for Gods of Egypt:
“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.”
Perhaps most surprisingly, Lionsgate itself issued a pretty candid mea culpa as well:
“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.”
Well the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so I guess these apologies are a nice gesture, even if it’s certainly a case of way too little way too late. It is fascinating, though, to contrast the response from Proyas and Lionsgate here with that of Scott, who had no qualms with speaking his mind.
Still, to see a studio and its director apologizing for a movie months before it comes out is, well, fascinating. Gods of Egypt, starring lots of white people and Chadwick Boseman, opens in theaters on February 26th.