The first look at the movie has sparked anger throughout Twitter; Gods of Egypt is following the lead of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, with its cast being predominantly white despite being set in Egypt.
Words: Tiasha Simon, Subeditor: Lauren Burgess
It seems Hollywood revels in angering the masses. Perhaps a new tradition is forming in which the film industry produces an epic-movie that whitewashes its cast once a year, despite the obvious upset it causes.
Do better, Hollywood. Actually, just shut down you’re totally incompetent. #GodsOfEgypt
— Horus the Kingslayer (@Jhoratio) November 12, 2015
Gods of Egypt is an upcoming American fantasy film featuring ancient Egyptian deities, and is directed by Alex Proyas. It seems the director has forgotten where exactly Egypt is geographically; Africa. Maybe the director was inspired by the 1963 film Cleopatra, which did the same thing. Debates about diversity in Hollywood are always prevalent, therefore when movies that can excel at having a diverse cast come about it’s hard for many to face that they get whitewashed. However, these latest whitewashing incidents are not the start of Hollywood’s problem. There is a long history of this throughout the years, one of the most famous incidents being Shakespeare’s well known black character Othello being cast as a white English actor; Laurence Olivier. The movie came out in 1965, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, yet the industry decided to ignore what was happening and continue to race-bend its cast. Adding insult to injury, the role earned the actor an Oscar nomination. When faced with backlash directors are always quick to defend their choices. Alex Proyas has yet to speak on his casting choices, yet last year Ridley Scott made it clear he stuck by his. Scott justified his cast by stating; “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 Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such. I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.” Scott’s comment offended many, and rightly so. We have to question this. Where is the diversity meant to come from if these actors and actresses aren’t being given a chance to make it as big as their white counterparts? There should not be a case of not being able to fund a film with a diverse cast because the actors are not well known. The directors should hold some responsibility in pushing to get them known.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) November 12, 2015
If last year’s boycotting of Exodus: Gods and Kings was anything to go by, it is certain that the same thing will happen here. By the looks of Twitters response, the film, which is set to be released in April next year, is already on a rocky path.