"I came to tell you that something is coming that is far beyond you and I. This is about Egypt's survival, do you understand?" That's Christian Bale as Moses talking to Joel Edgerton as Ramses in the new trailer for Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings." "Who has been telling you this?" replies Ramses. "God," answers Moses. So that's what you're dealing with here, a biblical epic that appears to mix parts of "The Ten Commandments," "Noah," "Gladiator" and "The Untouchables" into one massive spectacle of action, adventure and controversy.
"Ridley Scott is one of those guys who’s apparently hellbent on historical accuracy but doesn’t care enough to cast a person of color as Moses or a goddamn African queen while simultaneously filling out the rest of the movie with Black servants and thieves," David Dennis Jr. wrote in a post for Medium called "You Probably Shouldn't Go See Ridley Scott's Pretty Racist 'Exodus' Movie." "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."
Scott has not yet commented on the accusations of white-washing directly, but did discuss the film's casting in a recent interview with Yahoo! Australia.
Egypt was –- as it is now -– a confluence of cultures, as a result of being a crossroads geographically between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. We cast major actors from different ethnicities to reflect this diversity of culture, from Iranians to Spaniards to Arabs. There are many different theories about the ethnicity of the Egyptian people, and we had a lot of discussions about how to best represent the culture.
In addition to Bale and Edgerton, "Exodus: Gods and Kings" stars Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro, Hiam Abbass, Indira Varma and more. The film is out on Dec. 12. Watch the trailer below.