Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings," starring Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Pharoah Ramses is slated for a Dec. 12 opening, and if the truism "no publicity is bad publicity" can be believed, the action drama is getting major buzz. Most recently, Oscar-winning actor Bale made some controversial comments about Moses, his character in "Exodus," to a group of international reporters in Los Angeles last month.
"I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life,” Hollywood Reporter said.
During the summer, "Exodus" director Ridley Scott discussed how he was planning on filming the Old Testament scene of Moses parting the Red Sea, telling Entertainment Weekly he wasn't looking to a higher being or miracles to part the Red Sea, but rather, to science.
The 1956 film "The Ten Commandments," starring Charlton Heston, was singled out for scorn. “You can’t just do a giant parting, with walls of water trembling while people ride between them,” said Scott, who is going to attribute the "miracle" to an earthquake. "I didn’t believe it then, when I was just a kid sitting in the third row. I remember that feeling, and thought that I’d better come up with a more scientific or natural explanation.”
The multifaith website Pantheos took issue with Bale's comments because he “speculates about what was going on inside Moses’ head” and with Scott's earthquake explanation.
Chris Stone, the CEO of Faith-Driven Consumer, which bills itself as a nonprofit that "connects Christian consumers with companies that align with their Biblical worldview," told International Business Times what he believed Christian consumers' responses would be to the latest Bale comments. An "unfolding set of indicators," he said, including Scott's anti-miracle stance and Bale's comments, point to the fact that the people involved in the film "do not share our basic understanding of the reason for the story," and as a result, Christians will "buy-cott" it rather than boycott it -- that is, simply stay away from the theaters. As Stone sees it, "God delivered the Israelites from Egypt and he used sovereign, supernatural abilities to do it."
In July, some of the film's detractors criticized its casting of white actors in leading roles while giving slave roles to black actors, Christian Today reported. A Change.org petition urged people to boycott the film."The Bible says both Egyptians and Ethiopians are descendants of Ham," the petition reads. "Remember, Egypt wasn't invaded by Rome until 300 B.C. Egypt is in Africa not Europe." It has only 600-plus signatures to date. A Twitter campaign #boycottExodusmovie was also started regarding its "whitewash" casting. And on movie blog Twitch, a blog post title was the post's entire message: "It's White Moses Versus White Pharoah Saving A Bunch Of White Guys From The Other Bunch Of White Guys, None Of Whom Should Actually Be White."
When asked whether the controversy surrounding the casting of white stars as ancient Egyptians was considered a problem for the Faith-Based Consumer, Stone said it was not.
"It doesn't matter what they look like," he said. "The question is, are they depicted in the story in a way that's true to its purpose, its function?"
It remains to be seen if these various controversies will create a mass exodus from Scott's biblical epic.
There's no way I will support subliminal racism. White people are always our heroes huh? Even for the Egyptians. #BoycottExodusMovie
— Nicole C. (@Cole_ctiveLove) July 21, 2014