Egypt Independent: Arts-Main news en CNN: 'Gods of Egypt' director, Lionsgate apologize for predominantly white cast <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The makers of the forthcoming film &quot;Gods of Egypt&quot; apologized for showcasing a predominantly white cast amid criticism over lack of diversity in a film based on Egyptian mythology.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The fantasy epic, slated for release in February, stars Scotsman Gerard Butler of &quot;300&quot; fame and Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, best known as Jaime Lannister on &quot;Game of Thrones,&quot; as warring Egyptian gods. The cast also includes Australian actors Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites and Courtney Eaton, along with African-American actor Chadwick Boseman and French-Cambodian actress Elodie Yung.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The mostly white cast came under scrutiny as soon as shooting started in 2014. &quot;And so, the time-honored tradition of Hollywood whitewashing continues,&quot; Australian writer Ruby Hamad wrote at the time.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There was new attention in November, when production company Lionsgate released the first look at the film in character posters and a trailer.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Actress Bette Midler was among those to call out the filmmakers for casting white men in a film based on Egyptian mythology.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Egyptians, in history and today, have NEVER been white. BRING BACK GEOGRAPHY!! It&#39;s Africa!&quot; she said in a tweet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Dear Hollywood, Egypt is in Africa. Northern to be exact. Why is that so hard to grasp? Stop gentrifying African countries,&quot; former NFL player turned filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry said.</div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Why does the Egyptian extras from <a href="">#GodsOfEgypt</a> look like they&#39;re from a Seth Rogen movie? <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; BlackGirlNerds (@BlackGirlNerds) <a href="">November 12, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a statement first reported by Forbes on Friday, director Alex Proyas acknowledged the controversy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;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,&quot; said Proyas, whose director credits include &quot;Dark City&quot; and &quot;I, Robot.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lionsgate also weighed in on the uproar.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize,&quot; the company said in a statement. &quot;Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hollywood has a long history of casting actors of European descent to play characters of different races. Even Butler has played a role beyond his ethnic roots, starring as King Leonidas in &quot;300,&quot; a character based upon the real-life king of Sparta.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thanks in part to social media, critics of &quot;whitewashing&quot; have been able to make their grievances known in large numbers in real time. Director Cameron Crowe came under fire for casting Emma Stone as a Hawaiian woman who is one-quarter Chinese in &quot;Aloha,&quot; prompting him to apologize. Filmgoers also criticized the choice of white actress Rooney Mara to play the Native American Tiger Lily in &quot;Pan,&quot; this year&#39;s live-action retelling of Peter Pan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Forbes contributor Scott Mendelson noted that the apology was different from director Ridley Scott&#39;s response to similar criticism for &quot;Exodus: Gods and Kings,&quot; the Biblical epic starring Christian Bale as Moses and Australian actor Joel Edgerton as Egyptian King Ramses. Scott defended the casting, saying he needed big-name leads to secure financing for the $140 million project.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The apology from Proyas and Lionsgate might be too little, too late, Mendelson said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;With the caveat that &#39;It&#39;s my film and I can do what I want!&#39; is a perfectly understandable defense and with the understanding that admitting error on an already in-production film doesn&#39;t undo the original subject of discontent, it&#39;s a little refreshing to see the respective parties just offer a mea culpa,&quot; he wrote.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, if the film turns out to be a hit, &quot;it will be used as evidence that you can get away with this kind of thing and that you shouldn&#39;t take the &#39;risk&#39; of crafting a movie such as this one with ethnically-accurate casts,&quot; he said.</div> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 15:01:00 +0000 CNN 2462490 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/30/501010/movie.jpg Bono, Clooney, Kardashian part of all-star campaign for AIDS <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Would you like to spend quality time with George Clooney as he showers you with compliments?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>How about walk a red carpet with Meryl Streep or visit the set of &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They are all possible: Bono is a launching an all-star campaign featuring &quot;once-in-a-lifetime experiences&quot; that can be won after donating at least US$10 to his organization (RED), which raises funds to fight AIDS. The campaign kicks off Tuesday to coincide with World AIDS Day, which is December 1.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And Bono isn&#39;t just the face for the movement: The U2 frontman will go on a bike ride with one donor - a year after he was seriously injured in a bike accident in New York&#39;s Central Park that forced him into surgery.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I&#39;m not sure that was as funny to my band as it was to me,&quot; Bono said in an interview with The Associated Press. &quot;But I think we&#39;re going to have fun and yeah, we&#39;ll go visit the scene of the crime.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jimmy Kimmel is dedicating his Tuesday late-night show to the campaign. He and Olivia Wilde will host (SHOPATHON), a tongue-in-check play off of home shopping, and the special episode will feature celebrity guests like Tom Brady, who is offering one donor a chance to learn how to pass a football, and Shaquille O&#39;Neal, who will take a photo with a winner for his or her 2016 holiday card.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And Kimmel is offering himself up, too: He is willing to give someone&#39;s kid &quot;the talk.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There&#39;s no age limit - if you have a 45-year-old kid, I&#39;ll explain it to him, too, as long as the parents are OK with it. I&#39;m happy to do the job,&quot; said Kimmel, who appears in a promo video for the campaign with Scarlett Johansson and Barry Manilow.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Other &quot;experiences&quot; that can be earned after donating on include a contour makeover with Kim Kardashian; a portrait painting by James Franco; or attending a University of Texas at Austin football game with alum Matthew McConaughey. Entries close on January 21, 2016.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Even though red is the color of emergency, there&#39;s a sort of optimism about the whole campaign and a kind of defiant humor. We have always had that, but the (SHOPATHON) will really take it to another new level,&quot; Bono said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match every dollar raised up to $20 million. R&amp;B singer The Weeknd is offering fans a chance to hang backstage at a concert; there is a one-day &quot;wellness break&quot; with Snoop Dogg in Colorado; and Ryan Seacrest will let someone announce the No. 1 song on his radio show.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;When you see how much work Bono does personally to fight AIDS, it&#39;s almost embarrassing, it&#39;s the least we can do or anyone can do to help,&quot; Kimmel said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Also, it&#39;s Christmas season, you have to figure out what to buy. It&#39;s almost like my Oprah&#39;s favorite things list,&quot; he added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Bono won&#39;t appear on the special episode of &quot;Jimmy Kimmel Live!,&quot; which airs on ABC and tapes in Hollywood. Instead, he will be in New York celebrating the 10-year anniversary of (RED) at Carnegie Hall with Vice President Joe Biden, the Edge, Stephen Colbert, Miley Cyrus, Trevor Noah and others.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It&#39;s a big day, World AID Days. It&#39;s crucial this year. This is the most crucial year,&quot; Bono said. &quot;We can feel people going, &#39;Oh yeah, that AIDS thing is done now,&#39; and we&#39;re like, &#39;No! It&#39;s not!&#39;&quot;</div> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:45:00 +0000 AP 2462470 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/06/01/43/grej.jpg Cling to life: Majida El-Roumi to Tunisia <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Popular Lebanese singer Majida El-Roumi wrote the following words on Facebook to express her love for Tunisia:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We are with you</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With you, with your beloved people, with your freedom, with your sovereignty and with your strength</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With you</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tonight, I wipe your tears with my heart&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dawn is rising on us all, I promise</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise on wounded Lebanon and stolen Palestine&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise on Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Yemen</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise on every grain of soil in the sad Middle East</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise on France and Europe</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise on the whole universe</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise despite all the violence rampant everywhere</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It will rise despite attempts to obliterate our sovereignty</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We have loyal men guarding our homes</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And we have God. His word is final. His mercy is endless.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I love you Tunisia</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cling to life</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:27:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2462463 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/30/1755/majida_el-roumi.jpg Psy says 'no chance' of another Gangnam Style success <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>&quot;Gangnam Style&quot; star Psy acknowledged Monday that he could never repeat the phenomenal global success of his 2012 hit, but said he was perfectly happy being &quot;just another&quot; K-pop artist.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The quirky South Korean singer was catapulted to unlikely international stardom after the &quot;Gangnam Style&quot; music video, with its invisible horse-riding dance, went viral.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The song &mdash; a satire of the luxury lifestyle of residents in Seoul&#39;s glitzy Gangnam district &mdash; remains the most-watched video of all time on YouTube, with more than 2.4 billion views.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The 37-year-old singer said the success of the song and the expectations that came with it had sometimes been difficult to cope with.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The pressure and stress was simply too huge,&quot; he told a press conference in Seoul ahead of the release on Tuesday of his new album.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Asked if he imagined another worldwide hit, Psy shook his head.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;No chance,&quot; he said. &quot;I don&#39;t think something like &#39;Gangnam Style&#39; will ever happen again.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The sheer weight of Gangnam was so heavy, I don&#39;t even go to Gangnam anymore,&quot; he joked.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Before &quot;Gangnam Style&quot; conquered the globe, Psy had already been an established star at home for more than a decade, famous for provocative lyrics and rambunctious stage performances.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some fans at home felt that the singer lost his edge after travelling the world.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Psy admitted that he had found himself trying too hard to please a global audience and vowed that his new album &mdash; his &mdash; marked a return to &quot;his roots&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;While I was writing songs, I often found myself wondering, &#39;will this be as good as Gangnam Style? Or what if foreign fans don&#39;t understand this lyric?&#39;&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It took me a while to force such thoughts out of my mind,&quot; he said, adding he would be perfectly content being &quot;just another K-pop artist&quot; for a while.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The new album, titled &quot;Cider&quot;, contains nine songs including the double-titles &quot;Daddy&quot; and &quot;Bell Bottoms&quot; &mdash; both dance tunes.</div> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:48:00 +0000 AFP 2462451 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/30/501184/gangnam_style.jpg