Ridley Scott Addresses Whitewashed Cast of 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'
If you watched the trailer for Ridley Scott's latest film Exodus: Gods and Kings and found yourself annoyed by the whitewashed lead cast of the Biblical epic that takes place in Egypt, you're not the only one. There's been quite the outcry against the casting of Australian actor Joel Edgerton as Pharaoh Ramses II and British actor Christian Bale as Moses, and that's only been made worse since it's been revealed that a slew of black actors are playing servants, thieves and lower class civilians. And now, Ridley Scott himself has addressed the controversy, but hasn't really defended against the concerns being raised. Read more below!
If you don't understand the issue at hand, here are a couple of tweets that lay it out simply:
— Marco (@Marcohtx) July 30, 2014
— Hodan (@HodanLioness) July 29, 2014
“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.”
While there are surely some theories about the Egyptian population and their roots, I don't think any of them have pegged the Egyptian people as looking like white actors with tanning spray. Now obviously Scott and the studio went with these big names, regardless of their race, in order to bring in an audience, but it begs the question as to whether this is disrespectful to actors who otherwise should be playing these roles because of their ethnicity. It's not quite the same affront to race as a white person wearing blackface would be, but there are those who are still just as offended and angered by Hollywood's whitewashing tactics. Could this film finally bring the issue to light enough to make a change? Thoughts?