Christian Bale's Thoughtful Remarks on 'Exodus: Gods & Kings' Cast
by Ethan Anderton
December 9, 2014
When director Ridley Scott was asked about the whitewashed cast of his Biblical epic Exodus: Gods & Kings, hitting theaters this weekend, his answer didn't really address the large complaints that people had with casting white actors like Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton in the role of Middle Eastern characters. However, he had a pretty blunt response when speaking to the Associated Press about the issue, "I say, 'Get a life.'" Speaking from a business standpoint, Scott said he put together the "best possible cast" for a film with "a budget of this scale." Thankfully, Christian Bale was more thoughtful and diplomatic on the matter.
"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. Ridley 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.'"
That's a much more reasonable and respectful response than we expected from the guy who flipped out on the set of Terminator: Salvation. And he actually makes the strong point that audiences have to progress with Hollywood by embracing films that don't have big, well-known, predominantly white cast members, so that actors of other ethnic backgrounds can actually have a chance at getting these kind of roles. Hollywood makes these casting decisions based on box office appeal, not just because they want to exclude these international talents. And so the best way to make progress is to support independent film, where more diverse casts and filmmakers have been getting a chance to shine. Agreed?