Chadwick Boseman weighs in on the Gods of Egypt casting controversy
Members of a films cast or crew apologizing for their film isn't entirely unheard of, but typically that sort of confession arrives after the release date. Alex Proyas' upcoming GODS OF EGYPT isn't set to be released until next year, but it's been making the news in the past few weeks after Proyas and Lionsgate both issued statements publicly apologizing for the films lack of casting diversity. Alex Proyas said that "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."
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.
The film takes place in ancient Egypt and stars a variety of white actors playing the Egyptian's and their Gods. Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Geoffrey Rush all appear in what seems to be the latest instance of "Hollywood white-washing" and Chadwick Boseman, who appears in the film as Thoth the God of Wisdom, spoke with GQ and weighed in on the GODS OF EGYPT controversy.
I generally try to tune things like press controversy out, but some people around me told me, "Hey... you might wanna look at this." And when I originally was approached with the script, I thought this [critique] might come up, I really did. And I'm thankful that it did, because actually, I agree with it. That's why I wanted to do it, so you would see someone of African descent playing Thoth, the father of mathematics, astronomy, the god of wisdom. And in the movie, I actually outnumber the other gods in the movie, literally and figuratively. It's hard for people to know that without seeing it. But yeah—people don't make $140 million movies starring black and brown people.
It was certainly surprising to me that Alex Proyas and Lionsgate responded the way they have, but anything that gets people talking can only be a good thing, unless nothing is learned and we find ourselves commenting on a similar controversy with a different film a year from now.
GODS OF EGYPT is set for a February 26, 2016 release.
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