Gods of Egypt director, studio apologize for the film’s cast


Two years, two films set in ancient Egypt, two controversies over the fact that some or all of the top-billed actors are of European descent. But where Exodus: Gods and Kings director Ridley Scott simply shrugged off the boycotters, Gods of Egypt director Alex Proyas — and the studio behind his film — have decided to apologize.

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Watch: Gods, monsters and a few human beings come to blows in the first Gods of Egypt trailer


I honestly have no idea how closely I’ll be following this film, but: Just for the record, yesterday we finally got a trailer for Gods of Egypt, the big-budgeted mythological action movie that is coming out just a little over three months from now.

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Thieves steal the show in Gods of Egypt and Hieroglyph

Not every story set in the ancient world is based on the Bible or on Greco-Roman history. Two major projects set in ancient Egypt are currently in the works — and one of them started filming just a few days ago.

Variety reports that Alex Proyas — who was actually born in Egypt, to Greek parents, and moved to Australia with his family when he was just a few years old — began shooting Gods of Egypt in Sydney last Thursday. The film reportedly has a budget of $150 million. (That’s Proyas pictured above.)

It’s not clear to me whether the story will be primarily about the gods or the humans who interact with them, but depending on who you read, the story either revolves around “a young thief who enlists the help of the ancient gods to bring his beloved back to life,” or it is “set in motion when a ruling god … kills another”.

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New movie gives Egyptian gods the epic-fantasy treatment

We’ve seen quite a few movies based on pagan European mythology over the last few years, from Clash of the Titans and its sequel to the Percy Jackson movies and the Thor superhero flicks. And of course, there are quite a few Bible movies in the works right now too, some of which, such as Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, will borrow heavily from post-biblical myths and legends. But now comes word that an even older religious-mythological system is about to get the epic-fantasy treatment.

The Hollywood Reporter says three actors have been tapped so far to star in Gods of Egypt under the direction of Alex Proyas, whose last film Knowing took some of its key images and ideas from the Old Testament; he also came very close to directing a big-screen version of John Milton’s creation epic Paradise Lost, starring Bradley Cooper as Lucifer, before the studio decided to pull the plug.

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Movies that flip their source material on its head

My friend and colleague Steven D. Greydanus tweeted the other day that the new Lone Ranger movie is not just one of those films that doesn’t “get” its source material but, rather, it is made by “people who do understand the source material—and dislike it.” He has since noted that this point is also made by New York Times critic A.O. Scott, who wrote that the film is “an ambitious movie disguised as a popcorn throwaway, nothing less than an attempt to revise, reinvigorate and make fun of not just its source but also nearly every other western ever made.”

This got me wondering about other films that have knowingly inverted their source material, rather than adapted it, per se — i.e., films that have explicitly challenged the themes of their source material. Two examples came to mind immediately.

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Review: Knowing (dir. Alex Proyas, 2009)

If you’ve seen any of the trailers, then you’ll probably have a good idea what to expect from the first hour or so of Knowing, the latest mind-bending bit of speculative fiction from Alex Proyas (Dark City, I Robot). But even that first hour has its surprises, and after that, the film veers in directions that go far beyond anything you might have expected — directions that will be all the more awe-inspiring the less you know going into the theater.

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