<em>Gods of Egypt</em> Gods of Egypt

Lionsgate and Australian director Alex Proyas have apologized for whitewashing African history in the upcoming film Gods of Egypt.

The studio ignited controversy earlier this month when it released character posters and a first-look trailer for the film, a period fantasy based in Egypt that features mostly white actors, including Scottish star Gerard Butler and Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who is Danish.

On Friday, Lionsgate and Proyas issued statements addressing the backlash.

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"We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed," Lionsgate said, as reported by Forbes. "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."

Added 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."

The cast also includes Chadwick Boseman, who is African-American, as well as French-Cambodian actress Elodie Yung.

Gods of Egypt is scheduled to be released on February 26.