The upcoming film “Gods of Egypt” will have you believe that ancient Egyptians worshipped deities who most closely resembled actors from Scotland (Gerard Butler) and Denmark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Movie studios often call such casting decisions strategic and necessary for financing and worldwide appeal. Critics often call it the whitewashing of history–and Chadwick Boseman, the lone black god featured in the film, agrees. In fact, it is the very reason he decided to participate.
“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, Chadwick explained to GQ on Friday at their Men of the Year bash in Los Angeles.
“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.”
Chadwick, who will soon star as Black Panther in Marvel’s first film featuring a black superhero in a lead role, continued: “But yeah—people don’t make $140 million movies starring black and brown people.”
It seems his “Gods of Egypt” director agrees with his star. Responding to whitewashing criticism in a statement released last week, he said there are “complicated variables” in casting a film, adding, “but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse.”
Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, said in a statement: “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.”
“Gods of Egypt” opens Feb. 26, 2016. Watch the trailer below.