Joel Edgerton Says He Understands ‘Exodus’ Whitewashing Criticism, But It’s Out of His Hands…

Joel Edgerton Says He Understands 'Exodus’ Whitewashing Criticism, But It’s Out of His Hands...

Oooh boy, do I love to stir up a hornet’s nest! 

As you will recall, last month I published an item on an announced boycott against
Ridley Scott’s upcoming mega epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings," and the lack of people of color in the film’s cast (read it HERE).

I don’t want to say that I was the cause of it all
(though I like to think so), but after my piece was published and circulated online, several similar articles appeared
all over the internet, and elsewhere, all addressing the casting controversy, which was the
cause of many much-heated discussions. You only have take a look at the comments in that
my piece to see for yourselves.

So, of course, it
was only a matter of time before someone involved with the actual film, addressed the controversy. And that person was co-star Joel Edgerton, who plays the role of Rhamses in the
film.

When asked about the casting controversy, Edgerton, in an
interview yesterday on Australian television, said that he was “sensitive to it," adding, "I do
understand and empathize with that position (but)… it’s not my job to make
those decisions… I got asked to do a job, and it would have been very hard to
say no to that job."

Now before you go hard on him, let’s face it. He’s an
actor, and not necessarily someone – when you get right down to it – who is paid to challenge the status quo, but instead, to take orders, as it were. Therefore, when
presented with a major role in a huge $200 million movie, to be directed by one of
the most important filmmakers of the past 3 decades, I don’t think Edgerton
would have said: "You know that’s great; I really appreciate it. But
give the role to an actor of
color instead, who’s deserving of the part." 

Of course
not.

And actually Edgerton really isn’t the person to address this
issue. The job goes to Ridley Scott, the filmmaker behind the project, as well as the producers of the
film, who made the final decisions; But they have been silent so far.

However, if they do speak up on the issue, we’ll be sure to
let you know.

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Comments

Pirate7X

Ridley Scott, the writer (I believe the same hack who did the corny whitewashed American Gangster script) and the studio are of course to blame for their standard apathetic white supremacist priviledged casting. It's not shocking but but representative of how ivory-towered
they are.

This is hilariously even more whitebread than the original Hollywood whitewashed Moses tale The 10 Commandments. At least Yul Brenner's skin tone and ethnic Roma/Gypsy background looks at least a slight bit like the Afro-Asiatic presentations of the Kemetian/Egyptians.

Oh well, won't get my $, maybe see much later online or from the friendly neighborhood street dvd entrepenuer.

closer2

if joel edgerton is really good in this do we still have to write off his performance because of he's the wrong skin color? that would be a little unfair on him in my opinion and i hope that doesn't happen

Douglas

I'm all for the First, but some of the postings will keep me from being a regular.

tim

I wonder if a reporter will ask michael B jordan if he's sensitive to the critics of the fantastic four movie who have started a boycott campaign? i can't see it happening myself but edgerington is fair game for some reason, the reporter who asked him the question was a person of color as well so just imagine how well it would go down if a white person asked michael the same thing. I'd also add that even though ramses is an historical figure nobody actually knows his ethnicity as it's up for debate, he never went to war with moses either because he's just made up and in this story he's been taken out of his time and place. It would be like putting JFK in the wizard of oz or something and having him played by bill cosby.

popper

Fox must be loving all this free publicity, every site that is running the boycott story has a trailer attached or some cool looking stills from the movie and just think we have 5 more months of this. I wasn't even aware of this movie until this controversy started, after seeing the trailer i might check it out regardless of any of this alleged whitewashing crap, it's a bible story it's as fictional as lord of the rings and i don't know why black people have started a boycott anyway when the eygptians were slave masters, going by this film the wonders of eygpt were actually created by jewish slaves, that's if you believe any of this fantasy crap, the film looks pretty cool though.

russell

What do people think of the trailer? i wasn't that impressed with it regardless of any issues and i think it will be one of those movies the cast will want to forget about due to it being so poor anyway

logman

"As you will recall, last month I published an item on an announced boycott against Ridley Scott's upcoming mega epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings," and the lack of people of color in the film's cast"

I remember that, that's the article where you failed to mention the multinational cast and instead people just complained that there were no african american actors in major roles. From my knowledge there are iranian actors in the movie, Israeli actors n the film, australian, english, american, italian the list goes on really but all people seem to fixate on was the fact that there were not many "black" people playing any of the major roles, not unlike a lot of hollywood movies then really, actually this film ironically is more diverse then a lot of films coming out in the same month.

"I don’t want to say that I was the cause of it all (though I like to think so), but after my piece was published and circulated online, several similar articles appeared all over the internet, and elsewhere, all addressing the casting controversy, which was the cause of many much-heated discussions. You only have take a look at the comments in that my piece to see for yourselves."

Don't flatter yourself your article isn't the one that is linked to or quoted all the time and as for the comments on the article they are about 50 50, 50% of people saying they don't care and the other 50% calling people a racist if they go and see the movie. The article that is linked is the most dumb reactionary article ever written.

"Now before you go hard on him, let’s face it. He’s an actor, and not necessarily someone – when you get right down to it – who is paid to challenge the status quo, but instead, to take orders, as it were. Therefore, when presented with a major role in a huge $200 million movie, to be directed by one of the most important filmmakers of the past 3 decades, I don’t think Edgerton would have said: "You know that's great; I really appreciate it. But give the role to an actor of color instead, who's deserving of the part." "

that's right he's an actor in a hard profession where 90% of people are out of work most of the time, if he's a great actor should he have lost the role to someone else based purely on skin color as that's what your article seems to suggest in the last sentence, choosing an actor due to there race rather then there talent sounds a bit racist if you ask me.

"And actually Edgerton really isn’t the person to address this issue. The job goes to Ridley Scott, the filmmaker behind the project, as well as the producers of the film, who made the final decisions; But they have been silent so far.

However, if they do speak up on the issue, we’ll be sure to let you know."

wouldn't fox be the people that have to address this issue? or do you think they will really care? they've made a movie for a predominantly white christian audience and yet nobody seems to see this as a calculated business move. As for the last comment we know you will let us know because you seem to like to keep exploiting a non subject, where was all the controversy over son of god? where were all the articles on the boycott noah campaign? i know it didn't pick up as much attention as this movie is doing. I don't even know if this passes as an article, all your doing is telling people second hand news about something that happened a couple of days ago which is essentially another reporters story. Why do you do this? for hits, i'm pretty sure it's not because this is red hot news that nobody has seen or read about. But i understand that's the nature of blogs and internet journalism. That's my opinion anyway of this issue and most of the articles written about this movie.

Peter T

Just to clarify: should Dwayne Johnson (who is half-black and half-Samoan) have turned down the part of Hercules (a Greek hero), all in the name of "accuracy"? Also, to all those people whining about the lack of "people of color" in a Hollywood movie set in the ancient past: were you celebrating when Johnson got to play that European legend? If not, why not?

lenny

As an atheist i boycotted this movie way before any of the controversy, put simply it's made up rubbish.

brain

There was a guy earlier on collider who wrote in the comments section that if you go and see this movie you are as bad as the KKK, that's how ridiculous this has become that you have people who are willing to trivialize acts that scum like the ku klux klan have committed. But that's the internet, he's probably just trolling but this stuff gets way out of hand in my opinion.

happydude

This again, there seems to be a new article on this every week

rob

I think people and shadow and act are getting confused about the message behind the exodus story (at least they've failed to mention it) and how it's essentially just a jewish fable. In fact the story is quite defamatory towards ancient eygptians and yet this issue is never mentioned, isn't there one person out there that will call this movie out as religious propaganda? instead people seem to be fixated on who should have played who.

So what is exodus about? and after all this movie is called exodus so lets take a look at it. Exodus tells the story of the hebrews, it's a story about how they were forced into slavery and how the pyramids and everything else you see in eygpt was built with jewish blood, sweat and turmoil. Is any of this true as this is what the movie is about? well there is no evidence of the exodus or moses leading his people to freedom yet nobody seems to have a problem with religion rewriting history? in fact it's kind of beaten hollywood to the punch and this movie is an adaptation of that biblical story, so my question is how much historical fact are people expecting?

And who are the eygptians in this story? well they are the jews captors, as much as people want to talk about how great ancient eygpt was it wasn't the pharaohs or eygptian royalty that built the wonders of that civilization it was slaves, so the ancient eygptians were basically slavers.

Surely if they had cast african americans as eygptians in order to remain historically correct (even though the story of the exodus which this film is about is fictional) it would have been catastrophic? i mean the eygptians in the exodus story are the bad guys after all who god helps to wipe out, then again like i've said nobody seems to know anything about the exodus myth anyway and how it represents ancient egypt.

This whole campaign basically spells out why any protest or boycott movement cannot work in this day and age and it's because people look at the stupidity of it and write off those people who jump on the bandwagon as lunatics. It's why nobody is listened to today.

Also i don't know if the article was being sarcastic when it said "You know that's great; I really appreciate it. But give the role to an actor of color instead, who's deserving of the part." but that sounds as bad as the people who believe superman should only ever be played by a white actor. Then again maybe it's sarcasm but that's not very clear as it's thrown in with a bunch of valid points about an actor being stupid not to take a job in a 200 million dollar production. It's probably due to poor journalism and if we are critiquing a movie (which none of us have seen yet) then everything is surely open to scrutiny. But lets be honest does anybody who run these stories actually care? or is it just click bait exploiting a lot of angry people who don't actually understand the message and story this movie is presenting?

In fact shouldn't more fuss be made about how it would appear that schools are failing to teach people real history? if they were then people surely would know to write this film off as complete nonsense. Like somebody else mentioned it's through education that we know movies like inglourious basterds is fictitious, but no it would appear people are more concerned with entertainment coming out of hollywood. If you are expecting a history lesson then you're not going to get it at the movies, the best place for that is in schools and maybe any kind of debate should be aimed at creating a better education system rather then having a go at rubbish coming out of hollywood. But like i said it's just entertainment and how many of these websites actually care anyway?

NeverTooEarlyMP

This is a tough one for me. On the one hand, you're right that it is Ridley Scott's project and that he and the producers (and the studio heads above them) are the bosses for this particular job. But on the other hand, Edgerton and Bale get top billing and are featured on all the posters and advertising. Presumably they have some amount of freedom to decide which projects they're willing to work on. Or are we to believe that this is the only film that was willing to hire them?

If Edgerton gets a pass, then don't almost all the white people in the world get one too? Everyone's got a boss, after all. Everyone is paid to take orders. And there are precious few people whose job title says that they're "paid to challenge the status quo."

By this standard, doesn't Ridley Scott get a pass too. He's "only" the director, after all. He gets paid by someone else and has a boss above him too. He's not paid to challenge the status quo, but to direct films that the bosses think will make money. Maybe he'll come out with a statement next week saying that he's also "sensitive to the issue", but that he had to follow the wishes of his producers. And the producers? Well they're paid to answer to the studio bosses and the distribution heads and on and on up the line.

At a certain point, we're left with no one who can speak up and do the right thing. Unless we can get to the one guy at the very, very, very top. But something tells me that guy is too rich to sit down for an interview.

Russ

Well they had Yul Brynner the last time they did a major Moses/10 Commandment movie. Now they have an Australian. One of these times, someone is going to slip up and put Egyptians/Middle Eastern actors into a movie like this. Boy will there be outrage then. "What do you mean Moses and Rhamses wasn't white?"

Think of the boycotts. The mayhem.

mork

"You know that's great; I really appreciate it. But give the role to an actor of color instead, who's deserving of the part."

So let me get this straight what you're saying is it doesn't matter about acting talent but instead a person should be cast on there skin tone? doesn't this lend more ammunition to the nutcases who are running a boycott fantastic four campaign?

Also before anybody say's "but ramases was a real guy", that is true but there is no evidence of the exodus taking place or that jews were enslaved by eygptians and were forced to build the pyramids (which sounds pretty horrible in itself), there is also no evidence of a moses existing either. In fact it would be like taking lincoln and placing him in the movie thor which is complete mythology just like the exodus story.

Surely people should wait to see the movie before they start a boycott campaign anyway? that way they can actually create a rounded critique of it? I'm pretty sure sergio isn't the guy who is quoted and linked to in all of these articles either so i don't know why he think's his article has stirred up a debate unless he want's to take responsibility for a campaign that was started over a teaser trailer for a biblical (meaning fictional) movie.

Is this more about groups of people wanting to take responsibilities of the greatness of a long dead civilization? is a modern day white guy you would find in the street today responsible for the industrial revolution or the holocaust because of the color of his skin? surely there is only one race which is the human race and we are just all different ethnicity's anyway and a lot of us have no blood ties to these long dead civilizations. Isn't this campaign just away of dividing people up into groups and people trying to display there "racial" superiority despite having nothing to do on a personal level with the acts the movie portrays? does anybody want to link themselves to a civilization that apparently kept jews as slaves for over 400 years anyway? of course many dynasties are built on blood and barbarism but i guess after a few thousand years people only remember the great stuff and all the achievements, i can't imagine how problematic that would be if in a few thousand years the same was said or thought about of some of the thing's that took place in the 20th century.

Maybe people should accept this is a film and not a history lesson just like inglourious basterds isn't a history lesson, maybe real history needs to be taught in schools and people should know the difference between fantasy and reality. I do applaud shadow and act for keeping this going though because it generates hits and it would be interesting to know if they've joined the boycott campaign themselves or if there just exploiting the issue.

Anyway i can't see this going away until a few years after the movies released and forgotten about. I remember before kingdom of heaven was released it was called pro bin laden by some critics who had yet to see it and then everybody watched the movie and saw that was just media garbage.

But that's what the media are there for.

Mike

The reality of the situation is that Hollywood Studios would never give a African-American film director $200 million to make a film about ancient African history. Why do you think no Black film directors have ever done it?

Peter T

Why do you assume the historical Ramses was black? The mummy of Ramses that anthropologists have studied certainly isn't.

Kelly

Dammit Shadow and Act, just let it die. You can complain all you want, but the truth is, the film in complete and it's being released whether you like it or not. You want to protest? Don't see the film. Easy as that. Do you really expect actors to just give up roles to others for the sake of historical accuracy or what not? Hell no. If you want a legitimate picture of ancient African history, you must write it yourself… or someone must do it. Stop relying on other people and then complain when it's not up to your standards. Ugh, I'm black and this is a headache.

Jose

This is just stupid

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