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Gods of Egypt whitewashing controversy: Lionsgate, Alex Proyas respond

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Lions Gate Entertainment

The director and studio for the action-fantasy Gods of Egypt are apologizing after the film’s lack of diversity sparked backlash.

Directed by Alex Proyas and set in ancient Egypt, the tale of deities and mortals fighting over the fate of the world features several white actors in prominent roles, including Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Brenton Thwaites. Many observers objected to the casting choices when characters posters and a trailer were unveiled earlier this month.

Proyas said in a statement Friday, “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, the studio behind Gods of Egypt, added, “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.​”

Forbes first reported Proyas and Lionsgate’s mea culpa.

Gods of Egypt is the most recent film to be criticized for “whitewashing” its cast. Others include the biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, the romantic comedy Aloha, the LGBT rights drama Stonewall, the Peter Pan origin story Pan, and the sci-fi movie The Martian.

Gods of Egypt opens Feb. 26.