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Studio Behind Gods of Egypt Responds to Whitewashing Casting Fail

Gods of Egypt

After Gods of Egypt released a set of posters from the movie, there was a completely understandable negative response due to the decision to cast mostly white actors. Gerard Butler and Game of Thrones cast member Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are among those set to portray Egyptian gods who align themselves with mortals.

When news of this casting decision originally broke back in 2013, TMS expressed a wistful hope that perhaps there would actually be Egyptian actors cast in a movie about Egypt—and we definitely weren’t alone.

In response to the following backlash, Lionsgate released an acknowledging 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.​​”

In choosing a predominantly white cast for their film, the team behind Gods of Egypt are playing into the unfortunate belief that big names have more bankability—and as we all know, bringing in box office numbers is a big factor of importance for studios—but the fact remains that there are equally famous actors out there who are even more qualified to depict these characters of color in a culturally appropriate way.

This isn’t the first time that a studio has faced criticism for effectively whitewashing the cast of a movie—films like Exodus: Gods and Kings and Pan are two recent examples that come to mind. But it’s not enough to brush off poor decision-making with a blanket statement of “we can do better.” Just do better.

(via The Wrap, image via YouTube)

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