Hollywood is at it again. You’d think a lot had changed since 1956 when “The Ten Commandments” first debuted with essentially an all-white cast to portray the Hebrew exile from the land of Egypt. But in 2013, it’s clear not much has changed and a new petition on Change.org wants to put a stop to the whitewashing of Egyptian history.
Upon learning that Australian filmmaker Alex Proyas has cast Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to play the Egyptian god Ra in his new movie, “Gods of Egypt,” Thorne studios launched a petition to stop the artistic team from holding an all-white cast. The petition reads:
The race of the Ancients have been argued for moreover than a century, leaving their depiction to mere opinion. However, we must call this for what it is head-on, and not falter in doing so… a whitewashing of World History. Now, before you dismiss this as no more than just another article, listen to me for a moment. 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.
Though this petition was created in June, it wasn’t long after before the casting of another historical film demonstrated just how necessary a petition like this is.
In an update, Thorne Studios noted that Ridley Scott is set to direct a biblical drama by the name of “Exodus” that is essentially an updated version of “The Ten Commandments,” despite its antiquated casting choices. “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul will play the Hebrew slave Joshua who leads his people into the promised land after Moses. Sigourney Weaver and John Turturro have been cast as the parents of the Pharaoh Ramses, which will be played by Joel Edgerton. And Christian Bale will portray the role of Moses.
Any wonder why there’s an uproar?
Thorne Studios is pushing to get 10,000 signatures by Friday, but at this point is just barely at the halfway mark. Check out the petition here and tell us what you think about it. Will you sign it?