Internet users are in uproar over Ridley Scott's upcoming period film Exodus: Gods and Kings, due to "whitewashing" concerns about the main cast.
Exodus tells the biblical tale of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses the Great and his reluctance to set the Israelites free. The film will star Australian actor Joel Edgerton as Ramesses, Sigourney Weaver as his mother Queen Tuya, English-born Christian Bale as Moses,Transformers' John Turturro as Ramesses' father Seti I and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul as the Israelite leader Joshua.
Writer David Dennis Jr recently published a piece on Medium where he points out that much of the minor cast, particularly those playing Egyptian thieves, slaves, palace servants and assassins, are all black actors, while all the Egyptian royals and gods are played by white people.
"Ridley Scott is one of those guys who's apparently hell-bent on historical accuracy but doesn't care enough to cast a person of colour as Moses or a goddamn African queen while simultaneously filling out the rest of the movie with Black servants and thieves," Dennis writes.
"I could even accept him going the Louis CK route of 'the best actor gets the job regardless of if race makes sense' and casting Meryl Streep as Tuya, Benicio Del Toro as Moses and Choi Min-Sik as Rhamses for all I care.
"But to make the main characters white and everyone else African is cinematic colonialism. It's creating a piece of historical 'art' that carries on oppressive imagery that's helped shackle entire countries and corners of the world."
Tariq Nasheed, a New York Times best-selling author and the director of Hidden Colors, a race documentary series, has criticised the film for "redefining history".
"The storyline takes place in ancient Africa, but all the African kings and gods are portrayed by white actors and all the slaves, thieves and 'lower class' Egyptians are played by black actors," he wrote on the Hidden Colors Facebook page.
"The casting in this movie is ridiculous. And when I saw they have Sigourney Weaver playing an African queen, I was done."
Nasheed and Dennis both posted a screenshot of the Exodus IMDB page as proof, which shows the headshots of all the actors and the roles they are playing.
The internet is taking Dennis' claims seriously, with numerous users sharing the article on social media and encouraging their friends to boycott Exodus when it opens in cinemas: