Film-makers apologise for casting white men as Egyptian gods

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars as one of the deities in the blockbuster Gods of Egypt YouTube
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars as one of the deities in the blockbuster Gods of Egypt YouTube Youtube

THE film-makers behind a new Hollywood blockbuster have apologised for the lack of diversity in its cast, three months before the movie is even released.

Gods of Egypt, featuring the Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Scotland's Gerard Butler as Ancient Egyptian deities, opens in America on 26 February, but drew criticism when a trailer appeared online for its predominantly Caucasian cast.

The Lionsgate studio released a statement, saying: "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."

The director, Alex Proyas, whose previous films include I, Robot and The Crow, issued a separate statement. "The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse," he said.

Though several films have been the subject of similar controversies, such an early and abashed apology is rare. Ava DuVernay, the director of the civil rights drama Selma, called it "an unusual occurrence worth noting".

Last year, Ridley Scott was criticised for casting the English actor Christian Bale as Moses and the Australian Joel Edgerton as Pharaoh Ramses in his epic Exodus: Gods and Kings.

An unapologetic Mr Scott said: "I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I'm just not going to get it financed."

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