When the trailer for Lionsgate’s Gods of Egypt hit the web earlier this month, it made headlines and not because the movie looks good. The film was yet another case of Hollywood casting all white actors to play Ancient Egyptians and the studio actually responded to the complaints.
Lionsgate and director Alex Proyas sent statements to Forbes on Friday, surprisingly admitting that they made mistakes with casting.
“We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed,” the studio said. “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.”
“The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse,” Proyas added. “I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”
Gods of Egypt stars British actor Gerard Butler and Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Egyptian gods who fight each other. Brenton Thwaites, an Australian actor, plays a young boy who works with Coster-Waldau to stop Butler. None of the major characters are played by Egyptian actors.
While Gods of Egypt was destined to be forgotten about, even after its Feb. 26 release, it is the latest project to get extra attention for its lack of diversity. Last year, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings was blasted for its white stars. Warner Bros. was also criticized for casting Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, a Native American character, in Pan.