There’s a new film being developed by Alex Proyas entitled Gods of Egypt. According to Slash Film, the flick is about a common thief who gets caught up in a feud between the gods.
That’s all well and good and should be a great opportunity to highlight a very interesting and rich cultural history, however there’s a hitch–all of the actors who have been cast to play the gods are white: Gerard Butler as Set, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus, and Geoffrey Rush as Ra.
Some people may read this and think,”So what?”, but I feel it’s important to claim our history as Black people. Egypt has long been a racially ambiguous zone in TV and film. The fact that Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra still stings. Cast a spectrum of brown hues if you want, but understand that Egyptians aren’t now and never have been white. One look at the drawings in the pyramids can confirm that.
There is now a petition on Change.org to combat this casting. Thorne Studios, the author of the petition, pleads its case:
“The fact of the matter is, our minds rely on the media for far more than we might think. From an early age, we are incredibly prone to the images thrown in our direction from a many different ones, eventually shaping the way we look on the world and ourselves. The blunt westernization of African gods displayed here is without a doubt, shameless in its own right, and will not be accepted nor tolerated. This is an element of storytelling that has gone on for far too long, and must be put to rest as timely as possible. I try to imagine a reality in which Roman Gods are portrayed as Chinese, but my mind just simply won’t allow it. It is the same concept when speaking on the casting of “Game of Thrones” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the Egyptian God Ra. To set aside this racist inclination to paint history one color, we must fully commit to what we wish our future to be. I believe it is one where a child of any race and background can know who they are and where they come from. Sadly, this will not be the case if the only face we see… is a white one. Please sign and share this petition, so we can prove images such as these have no place in 2013!
According to all listed sources, Rush is actually the actor chosen to play Ra, but the sentiment is the same nonetheless. Let’s not let Hollywood continue to steal our stories from under us. You can read the full article and sign the petition here.