Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ridley Scott, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Oscars

Fox Chief On Oscar Contender 'Exodus: Gods & Kings': “You Don't See Movies On This Scale Anymore”

Earlier today Deadline debuted the new trailer for 20th Century Fox’s big Christmas picture Exodus: Gods And Kings. The large-scale biblical drama looks BIG. EPIC. The kind of movie studios used to thrive on but are simply cost-prohibitive these days. Well, they seem to be making a comeback. Ben-Hur, which took 11 Academy Awards in 1959 including Best Picture, is now being remade. Of course petehammond2Paramount released Darren Aronofsky’s Noah early in the year. But Gladiator in 2000 was the last big-scale epic of this period to wow Academy voters into giving up their Best Picture vote. It’s no coincidence that Ridley Scott directed that one, which also brought Russell Crowe an Oscar for Best Actor. Now Scott is back doing the impossible for Fox with Exodus.

In a brief conversation before the studio’s specialImage (2) 20th_century_fox_logo__131009230834-275x154.jpg for post 741629 press presentation Tuesday evening at the Zanuck Theatre on its lot, Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos mentioned to me it reminded him of the heyday of David Lean, who of course helmed such masterworks of epic scale as The Bridge On The River Kwai, Lawrence Of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. Lean’s lush era seems lost deep in movie history compared to the kinds of leaner films the studios make today. At least of this type. “There is nothing out there remotely like this,”  Gianopulos told me. “You don’t see movies on this scale anymore. You don’t see movies using these numbers of people in these massive scenes unless they are computer generated. Ridley did the real thing — and in only 80 days.” Producer Jenno Topping, who hosted the nearly 40-minute presentation of various scenes from the film, actually said it was 74 days, which is pretty remarkable for the director who will be turning 77 just days before his latest epic opens in the U.S. on December 12. Of course, a leaner-than-Lean-type production schedule can keep the costs down, but judging form what we were able to witness in this presentation, it looks like it is all on the screen — and then some.

Related: Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?

“From a production standpoint, this movie was kind of a nightmare, and hugely intimidating and ambitious,” Topping told the crowd. “We had a ridiculously tight schedule . … We were shooting in different countries, there were hundreds of people speaking in different languages, Ridley Exodus Bannerwas shooting in the elements, like crazy sandstorms and water, and there were tons of animals. And not just like dogs and cats but horses and donkeys and camels and freakin’ frogs. It was just endless and crazy. Fifteen-hundred special visual effects, six 3D cameras running at all times. And I really only think Ridley could have taken on this task, not only because of his incredibly beautiful mastery of the cinematic language, but because of his mental and physical  toughness to be undaunted. He’s just such a badass in every way, and he powered through it — and in fact jokingly suggested that his credit on the movie should be ‘Directed By Ridley Scott’ and then in parentheticals beneath it ‘in 74 days.'”

Related: Jesus Whisperers Mark Burnett And Roma Downey Board MGM/Paramount’s ‘Ben-Hur’

The selection of clips — all in 3D, with the exception of the new trailer, whichridley-scott-on-the-set-of-EXODUS-GODSKINGS premiered to the audience in 2D — definitely showed off the scope of this picture, ranging from intense dramatic scenes between Moses (Christian Bale) and Egyptian Pharoah Ramses (a bald and almost unrecognizable Joel Edgerton) to four of the 10 plagues featured in the movie. The scene with the frogs alone was remarkable, and creepy, and I’m told there were at least 400 live frogs mixed with CGI variety. Didn’t Scott hear you are never supposed to work with children or animals — especially frogs? In the Q&A that followed Bale said he fortunately didn’t have to work with those amphibians. But Moses is obviously an intense role, and he was very well aware the shadow of Charlton Heston, who famously starred as the biblical icon in 1956’s The Ten Commandments, loomed over him. Perhaps more surprisingly, he said part of his research included renting Monty Python’s biblical film parody The Life Of Brian as well as Mel Brooks’ History Of The  World, Part I. He wanted to make sure his portrayal did not lapse into parody, so this was a way. He also read Moses: A Life and even the Koran among other literary works. Steven Zaillian wrote the script for the film, which, with its huge scenes of overcoming 400 years of slavery, Bale described as more about a revolution than previous versions. Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver are among the supporting cast. Chernin Entertainment and Scott Free are among the production entities who put it together.

Related: Anne Rice Adaptation ‘Christ The Lord’ Gets Green Light

exodus-gods-and-kings-look-of-the-filmSo a true assessment of Oscar chances for this massive effort is hard to make, based even on 40 minutes of footage, but if voters are in the mood to revisit the kinds of films that often used to prevail at the Academy Awards, then Exodus: Gods And Kings is definitely “for your consideration,” Oscar Gods and Kings. Certainly just for the sheer attempt, and the way in which he seems to have pulled it off, Scott deserves to be on a shortlist of Best Director possibilities. He was not among the Oscar winners for Gladiator, as that was one of the rare years of a split between Best Picture and Director, with the latter going to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. He’s never won. A smackdown between Exodus and Noah  for Best Special Effects could make that category even more interesting than usual, though both will have to face the final Hobbit movie.

Related: Paramount Courts Academy Voters For ‘Noah’

  1. “This scale of…” white-washed casting?

    If Fox put so much money into the movie, why didn’t they cast someone, ANYONE, of Middle-Eastern/Egyptian heritage?

        1. profit is never obscene unless obtained by force or fraud. And since Egyptians (all North Africans) and Middle-easterners are as Caucasian* as anyone can be, I’d say Good-oh.

          *hint I didn’t say European (look up the definition of Caucasian).

          1. I think you need to look up the definition Einstein. It means of European decent or decent fro the Caucus Mountains in southern Russia.

          2. You’re the one that’s wrong anonymous. The word Caucasian is derived from the anthropological the anthropological term caucasoid. In fact, most middle easterners are considered Caucasian by anthropologists.

          3. it is indicative of how far we have fallen when anyone uses wiki anything as a reputable reference. Jeeeesh

          1. So, are Whites the only ones that attend movies? Last I checked, Fast Five/Fast 6 performed phenominally well…thanks to its mixed-race casting.

        2. So? Everyone should work for FREE?! Give away their talent and the time and skill they put in to nurture and develop their talent? silly person.

      1. You don’t know what you are talking about. If you knew anything about the middle east, you’d know the Egypt’s movie inudstry is equaly talented if not more talented that Bollywood.

        1. haha, look, I haven’t seen but a few Egyptian movies…but the ones I have seen….they are not talented. Then again, the only one I can remember is Teer Inta with Ahmed Mekky.

          Hollywood is all about name/facial recognition. When studies show that people are more likely to go to a movie that has a familiar actor, than studios are going to go that route. They have to make multi million dollar (100 mill in some cases or more) decisions about these projects. As much as we would like for them to take the risk and step away from the norm, they have to invest THEIR money. Don’t like it? Don’t go to the movies. Protest with your wallet. They’ll change their ways when enough people do that.

    1. In Southern Russia between the Black Sea and Caspian is a place called the, “Caucasus” where, “Caucasians” came from. They were then known as Sacae and they splintered into two groups, each going a different direction; one in to Europe the other into the Middle East known then as, “Mesopotamia.”

      They eventually came to conquer the Mediterranean, found Egypt and Greece whereby many, many thousands of years later a Greek, whom was startled at the similarities in Egyptian and Greek mythology asked some Egyptian priests about the similarities who replied, “We are the same people who come from the same beginnings and have the same gods.”

      History claims Caucasians settled Egypt and so doe archaeology.

      1. There’s a best-selling book I’ve read many times and studied for years that has a lot of history in it. Actually this book is the best selling book of all time, but anyways, it tells in detail, the TRUE story about the movie we’re talking about here, The “Exodus” of the Israelites from Egypt. Maybe some of you heard of or saw a movie recently with Actor Russell Crow about another True story of a real man that lived a long time ago named “Noah”, which brings me to my point of this reply post. After it rained forty straight days and nights, the World-wide flood destroyed everything that had breath outside the boat. When Noah and his family were it!! So, we’re all decendants of Noah’s family! Technically, we’re all originally from Hebrew blood!
        I Believe this to be true and accurate. I report, You Decide.
        And come on people, since we’re all family, stop the sibling rivaly! Enough about this made up fhony word for haters, “Racism”. God made one race, the Human race!! Within it are many ethnic groups, Ok? Can we all try to get along now, please? Try lovin’ for a change… stop hatin’ on eachother people. Love & Grace, Nello~

          1. While sons of Jacob are Hebrews(Hibriit, too cross over) they are also exclusively Israelite. Because Jacob is Israel. Avram was first to be called “Hebrew” by YHVH after accepting him as Elohim. He then literally crossed the Jordan coming out of Mesopetamia leaving his fathers land and many, many false gods. Also and more importantly, spiritual crossed over to serve only YHVH. Hence Hebrew. Its not blood its a title.

        1. The great flood is a matter of record, and included in non-Judeo Christian religions as well. Whether the STORY of the ark and 40 days and 40 nights are as portrayed is certainly questionable.

          Just from a common sense standpoint, how large of a vessel would the arc have to have been? From where did all of the supplies to build it come? How large of a workforce would it have taken over what period of time?

          If two of each type of animal from the entire world had to get to the ark, how long did it take them to walk there from everywhere in the world?

          Like many religious stories, there is symbolism and embellishment for a reason. They are not all to be taken exactly literally.

          1. A) Is it any surprise that something of global impact would be in the records of other cultures? The question that should arise from that is WHY? Why would that account be all over the planet unless there really WAS a global flood at sometime? And again, it’s no surprise that people would change the narrative to fit their agenda, or their new religion they’ve made up (religions are STILL being made up today). The 40 days and 40 nights refers to how long it rained (Genesis 7:4 and 7:12). Most of the water came from subterranean sources (Genesis 7:11).

            B) The Bible describes the dimension of the ark – ~ 450′ long, 75′ wide, and 45′ tall, divided into three floors (Genesis 6:15). There were no doubt forests in those days that would have had plenty of wood to build it. It took 120 years to build (Genesis 6:3), so that wouldn’t have taken too many people.

            C) Probably not that long, how long does it take a species to migrate across a continent nowadays? You’ve heard of Pangea, haven’t you? The Bible indicates that there was only one land mass before the flood, so they weren’t really coming from across the entire planet.

            D) Who are you to judge, have you investigated both sides thoroughly?

          2. The most interesting thing I saw was in the movie Noah when the “bad guy” killed and ate one of the animals. I am thinking it must have been a unicorn or a jack-a-lope.

        2. You sir, are absolutely correct.and only GOD knows these things for sure.Science is the discovery of what GOD has already accomplished. Man is so conceited these days….

    2. im not sure if you and people like you are slow or what. these movies are made mostly by white people and its made to be viewed by the majority of people in white countries. why? because they have the money to spend on the movies. when the hispanics or people in africa spend the most money on movies then they will be the ones cast in the movies. this is very simple. the asians spend alot on movies as well, but they dont mind the whites playing the characters. now if black people in africa had alot of money and were making movies for africans to watch, what color do you think the actors would be? black of course. now sit your dumbass down.

    3. It’s a movie, they didn’t need to cast anybody to actually for real cut somebody’s head off.

      1. the egyptian pharaohs were indo european, which means they were probably nearly white as far as it goes. this has been proven by genetic studies much to the chagrin of many eyptians at one time in ancient times long ago, there were many white people in the middle eastern areas.

    4. Because we hate them – this is the only possible answer, right? Could not have anything to do with ability, experience or name recognition, right? Of course not. Although it is the Dullard’s gambit, and has the development expected of a six year old, you must be right.

      And Oh! The obscene profits? Yes. The past 10 years of movie production have been so very profit ridden. So many successful numbers, yes? And just who are these people – they who represent publicly held stock for investors – to try and make a profit?

      The only obscenity can be found in the sorely uneducated who desperately seek to be wear the mantel of social enlightenment – those wise Mandarins who can chide others and correct our obviously misguided ways. Drink your sour coffee with funny Italian make-up names and lecture us no more, dullards.

  2. It’s sad this historically inaccurate account of Egypt features an all-white cast… They should change the title to “White Exodus”

    1. The Jews “sojourned” in Egypt. They were from Iraq, descendants of Abraham. They were not Egyptians. And the Egyptians of old do not exist anymore since they were invaded by Arabs.

          1. Exactly! All of you should do some deeper research into the true, unadulterated origins of man and consider reading up on ancient sumer, Mesopotamia, the Sumerian tablets, enki, enlil, marduk/ra, inanna, eridu, etc. zecharia sitchin and his first book “the 12th planet” is a good starting point.

    2. If it’s historically inaccurate, presumably for other reasons, it shouldn’t matter all that much if the casting is inaccurate as well.

    3. Everyone here is racist. Children are the only ones who aren’t. But don’t you worry, I guarantee we’ll all make sure to teach them like our parents taught us.

      People are just vain as hell and overly preoccupied with what they and others look like. You can’t stop it. But I’m a cynic, and I don’t really want to bring down the optimists out there with faith in the human race. I mean, maybe we can do what no generation has done before, and bring up children all over the world who will live in peace together. And while we’re at it, maybe we can end all crime too.

      History is both a record and a prognosis. We will always make the same mistakes we have always made. Yes, there’s always exceptions but they are always vastly outnumbered by the eternal majority of regular, self-centered people.

      One more adage/bumper sticker for you:

      Life is a game no one asked to play where everybody loses.

  3. Yes, this is a throw back film, when white people played all the roles even the ones they were clearly not meant to play.

    1. Bunch of racists…while I may agree with your concern about being authentic….that alone shouldnt cause you to harrass the filmmakers

      My only concern is the lack of the Bibical Bible in those list of books researched. : *
      If your wanting accuracy, why not read the actual accounts of it? When you see Moses as he is, you get the sense he is a hot -tempered, jealous (for right) man.

      1. Oh the piece of fiction called the bible? Hey great book and all but written for the minds of the common people. I can’t tell you the times I read the bible and asked…exactly what the f*%# are they try to say?

        1. A book “written for the minds of the common people”. Yet, you apparently don’t understand it and continue to make judgement. So, if I understand your stance. If one doesn’t understand, one must declare false. I wish we were all so lucky as you, to have it all figured out.

  4. Ancient Egypt (fka Kemet) with desert conditions filled with white people. In reality, all of these people would have died from being in these conditions for too long due to a lack of melanin. Yet I’m supposed to see this? In Hollywood’s early days, sure, but now… GTFOH.

    1. Horsesh!t. I’m from the desert, and lived in it 2/3rds of my life. I am whiter than white, and have reddish hair. I’m not dead yet. Sure, I burn like hell out in the sun and I hate the desert summers, but still, I’m alive. Quit peddling your B.S. that white people can’t survive out in the desert.

    2. So when the Bilble describes David as “ruddy”, he was a red headed, fair-skinned black?

  5. “Ben-Hur, which took 11 Academy Awards in 1959 including Best Picture, is now being remade.”

    Because it can be made even better???

  6. Yeah, they should have gotten Chris Rock, or maybe Kevin Hart to play Moses’ wisecracking-but-wise sidekick.

  7. Well … I know one thing, that mess called ‘ Noah ‘ was more like ‘The Lord of The Rings ‘ than anything resembling the Biblical narrative !!! If they thought that ungodly mess would enhance their box office take, … they were badly mistaken !! Perhaps just once they’ll give the God of the Bible the benefit of their own personal doubts !!!

  8. All that’s missing is Alec Guinness as an Arab.
    Too bad he’s gone with Anthony Quinn to that great backlot in the sky.
    Seriously there were absolutely ZERO Egyptians anywhere on the planet to play a Pharaoh in the 21st Century?

    1. Today’s Egyptians are of Arab descent following the various Muslim conquests. Ancient Egyptians were NOT Arab.

  9. It’s unfortunate to continue to witness the ignorance and lack of effort to cast actors that represent their own culture. No one needs white people to represent the world. I won’t support a movie like this. I hope it flops. White washing is so 20th century. Get over yourselves.

    1. All the Egyptians are busy…. riddingtheir country of Christians and fighting amongst themselves.
      Please stay home. Society will be better off….

    2. > “the ignorance and lack of effort to cast actors that represent their own culture.”

      Right. Same “only Jews can play Jews” crapola that tried to block Jonathan Pryce from playing the lead in MISS SAIGON.

      Talent is talent.

      Blacks can play whites.

      Men can play women.

      Straights can play gays.

      It’s called…. a-c-t-i-n-g!

  10. Pass.

    Christian Bale? Excuse me while I laugh.

    Hollywood is so out of touch. It’s like an old wealthy socialite who tries to stay relevant by continuously getting plastic surgery from the same bogus hack doctor.

    Will Hollywood die already so American filmmakers can get back to work…

  11. Put your money on the line and make a movie. Just quit whining about how white doesn’t satisfy your needs. You want something then go ahead make it happen, don’t waste oxygen crying about how everyone else isn’t making the world spin the way you want it to go.

  12. Oh yippy-skippy! Ben Hur? Yet another remake of a classic. These idiots can’t come out with anything fresh and creative. There are TONS of stories in the Bible to draw from. I’m guessing the reason why is because the creators and its cast have no belief in God in the first place other than the god of money.

    1. They’re not remaking Ben Hur, they’re making a non-musical live-action version of Prince of Egypt.

  13. We’ll see if it sucks as bad as ‘Noah’, if that’s even possible.

    When your subtitle is ‘Gods and …’ anything, it’s pretty clear you aren’t sticking to the original material. ‘Gods’? There’s more than one?

    Why don’t they just stick to new chapters of the Dark Knight saga? Do what you know, that’s what I say.

    1. Hey Archy, yes there are more than one God, and it says so in Genises, “Lest they become like us”. Maybe you should read your bible.

  14. Strange that Deadline is cheerleading for this overblown racially inaccurate work of fiction. Boy, are you guys betting on the wrong horse.

  15. Not only weren’t the Egyptians and Israelis white, they averaged only 5’7″ in height. What’s the big idea trying to make a movie to entertain me by using people who are too tall?

    1. Little known fact – the Pharaohs (as opposed to common Egyptians) were Greeks (Alexander the Great’s mob). So they were somewhat “paler” than their subjects (although not as pale as this “Progressive” Hollywood cast). Curiously, St. Nikolaos (aka “Santa Claus”), the 4th C. Bishop of Myra, was also Greek.

  16. I find it funny that so many people here find the ‘all-white’ casting to be so offensive. Actually i find the seeming necessity to include a black in almost every movie to the exclusions of Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans offensive.
    Even more to the point I find the seemingly incessant need to rehash these ridiculous judeo-christian fables time and again offensive as is the failure to give proper representation to other spiritual traditions such as classical greco-roman beliefs and hinuism.

    1. Yes, but in the Koran, the Egyptians are the good guys, and the Jews are evil and trying to steal their land.

    2. Yes, I ridiculous counterfeit version of it written by a child molestor almost 2000 years after it happened. Seems legit.

  17. You know, when you can not criticize anything about the movie, then just pull out the race bullcrap… probably one of Obama’s accomplishments… promoting racism in America.
    Waaah Waaah…. not enough black people. Who the F cares? Its a fkg movie, not a documentary. Its supposed to entertain you… all the bitchers are just frustrated because the batteries have run out in their inflatable dolls.

  18. You know what? We SHOULDN’T see movies like this any more, with egregiously rascist white-washed casting. It’s the 21st century, not the 1950s. This is sickening.

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