Alex Proyas' recent Hollywood epic, Gods of Egypt, faced criticism for casting white actors to play Egyptian characters. But now one of the film's stars, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, has added his thoughts to the discussion, claiming most of the controversy surrounding this film lies in its title - namely the world "Egypt".
"If the film had been called Gods at War, it would have been more appropriate; and we would not be having this conversation," he told Spanish magazine El Pais in a recent interview.
Coster-Waldau, best known for playing Jamie Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones, also mentioned how accusations of whitewashing in this scenario pointed to two main issues, one being a broader topic of diversity in film and television, and the implied unfairness in judging the film on its title.
"We talked about two things here. On the one hand, there is the issue of diversity and people who are not represented in major films, a very important issue that should be discussed more. I think everything is changing at last, and it was a long time, no doubt about that. On the other hand, I think that criticism of Gods of Egypt and accusations simply relied on the title," he said.
Though he supports the need for racially-diverse characters in the film industry, Coster-Waldau does not hold himself responsbile for the accused whitewashing in Gods of Egypt, saying he was "very happy that [he] was offered this role and [he] had great fun doing it."
Coster-Waldau does, however, believe diversity in the industry is something we all need to talk about.
"We must talk about lack of diversity. But do not discuss a single film or why someone was not nominated. We must go to the heart of the problem: not enough movies have enough racial diversity and not enough great female roles are made. That's the problem," he said.
Coster-Waldau was one of three white men to be cast in leading roles. The other two were Gerard Butler and Brendan Thwaites.
Gods of Egypt opened in cinemas on February 25 earlier this year, and comes out on home video later this month.