It seems a moment hasn’t gone by on the press run for “Exodus: Gods And Kings” where Ridley Scott hasn’t faced a question about the casting of his Bible movie. The lack of ethnic diversity among the ensemble has been a source of concern in many quarters, an active Twitter hashtag #boycottexodusmovie is making the rounds, and Scott’s own attempts to address the issue haven’t gone over very well. And these latest comments aren’t helping either.
Speaking with Associated Press, when asked about those who might want to boycott the film over its casting, Scott offered the nuanced rejoinder, “I say, ‘Get a life.'” Noting the expense of the film ($140 million), Scott said he needed to get the “best possible cast … on a budget of this scale.” Meanwhile Moses himself AKA Christian Bale has offered a little more thoughtful commentary and comes to the defense of his director.
“It would absolutely be a wonderful day of celebration if, within a few decades, we have another Moses and he’s a North African or Middle Eastern actor — what a wonderful thing,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Ridley [Scott] is absolutely honest and blunt to a fault, and I think that people, rather than pointing fingers, should ask themselves, are they being supportive of North African and Middle Eastern filmmakers and actors? … The change will come from independent filmmaking, but audiences have to be there. Because once that happens, financiers of bigger and bigger budget films will say, ‘We can actually do business here.’ “
And Bale does make a very good point. It’s one thing to seek change in Hollywood, but an equal effort should be put forth to support those filmmakers and actors in international cinema right now, so they can continue to make movies, whether or not major studios are going to open the door for them.
You might think that with all this talk about ‘Exodus,’ Scott may be facing some of the toughest work of his career. But in fact, he thinks there is one genre harder to climb than Bible adventures — comic book movies. And it’s an arena he’s not eager to step into.
Thoughts? You know where to leave ’em. “Exodus: Gods And Kings” opens this Friday.