UPDATE: Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad,” along with Sigourney Weaver and John Turturro, have joined the cast of Ridley Scott’s biblical epic “Exodus.” The film already has Christian Bale on board, playing Moses, and Joel Edgerton as Egyptian ruler Ramses.
Paul, still in negotiations, would play the Hebrew slave Joshua. Weaver and Turturro are set to play the parents of Ramses.
EARLIER: As Joel Edgerton is in talks to star as Ramses, the Egyptian ruler opposite Christian Bale’s Moses in Ridley Scott’s epic “Exodus,” Hollywood is in the midst of a love affair with not only brawny Australian actors, but the Great Book. Check out our poll on the best Biblical epics of all time, from Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of the Christ” to Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” below. We skipped “Evan Almighty.”
“Exodus,” a 20th Century Fox production, will shoot in Spain, Morocco and England. Steve Zaillian (“Moneyball,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo”) penned the most recent version of the script.
Meanwhile, Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” which stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Connelly, is headed toward a March 24 release. A second Moses project, “Gods and Kings,” is rumored with Ang Lee at the helm (Steven Spielberg was once attached, but subsequently dropped out). A Cain and Abel story is in development, with Sony giving Will Smith’s banner Odd Lot the green light last year.
The small screen has also proven fertile ground for a revamped interest in the New and Old Testaments. The History Channel’s 10-hour epic “The Bible” was a ratings bonanza, prompting Nat Geo to scoop up Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus.” A $20 million “Jesus of Nazareth” miniseries is in the works, too.
But one hit doesn’t necessarily beget another. Remember “The Nativity Story”? That 2006 film was supposed to fly on the wings of 2004 international box office hit, Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” but fell flat. Maybe it was because its Virgin Mary, “Whale Rider” Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes, inconveniently got pregnant at age 16.