With the need and demand for diversity in Hollywood at an all-time high, the trailer for Gods of Egypt couldn’t have come at a more awkward time. Aside from the movie looking totally insane, it’s hard to look past the fact that a movie set in Egypt has an all-white cast for its lead characters.
After the internet voiced its concern (putting it mildly), both Lionsgate and the film’s director, Alex Proyas, issued statements apologizing for the controversial casting choices. Proyas said, “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.”
Lionsgate followed, saying, “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.”
20th Century Fox went through something similar last year with their Moses epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, casting Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses, respectively. Egypt went so far as to ban the film from being shown in the country. It will be interesting to see if these apologies will save Gods of Egypt from the same fate. Although, it’s a February release, so it’s not like it’s all that high-profile to begin with.
While the apologies are a step in the right direction, actions speak louder than words. Let’s hope Lionsgate DOES “continue to do better.”
Gods of Egypt opens in theaters February 26, 2016.
So what do you think? Are these acknowledgements a sign that Hollywood wants to get better, or just a PR stunt so people can move on? Let me know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below.