'Gods of Egypt' director, studio apologize following diverse casting controversy

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Gods of Egypt director Alex Proyas and Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, have apologized following criticism received as a result of the lack of diverse casting in the fantasy epic.

The feature, which is set for release Feb. 26, 2016, has come under fire for casting predominantly white actors in the Africa-set period epic. Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Brenton Thwaites, each of whom is white, all star. Actress-singer Bette Midler tweeted of the film, "Movie, #GodsOfEgypt in which everyone is white? Egyptians, in history and today, have NEVER been white. BRING BACK GEOGRAPHY!! It's Africa!"

Lionsgate and Proyas both issued individual statements on Friday, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, addressing the casting decisions.

Lionsgate: 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.​​

Proyas: 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.

In June, Aloha director Cameron Crowe apologized for casting white actress Emma Stone in the role of a quarter Asian and a quarter Hawaiian character.

Forbes first reported the statements.

READ MORE: New 'Gods of Egypt' Trailer: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's Horus Battles Blindness and Gerard Butler's Set

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