Christian Bale defends ‘Exodus’ casting: indies should make ‘the change’ first

Christian Bale

Here are photos from the NYC premiere of Exodus: Gods and Kings. Yesterday, I touched briefly upon the controversy swirling around this movie. Some of it has to do with Bale popping off and alienating the film’s target audience with his observations of the Moses character. The even messier business has to do with the ongoing kertuffle over the film’s casting. Ridley Scott previously made comment upon how there’s no way to get a blockbuster movie financed in Spain (for tax rebates) and “say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such.” This was how Ridley justified using lighter-skinned actors in roles that could/should have been filled with darker-skinned actors.

Hollywood has well-established history of culturally unsound casting methods. This won’t change until a blockbuster director finally takes a stand. Christian Bale believes differently. The first quote sounds terrible, and I think it’s his use of the word “suffer” that really tips the scales. The second quote places the burden of change upon not studios but indie filmmakers:

Bale to ET: “Ridley’s point, which I think is a good one, is what does an Egyptian look like? Especially at that time when this was the empire, so it would be a crossroads of Europe and the Middle East and Africa, and he cast accordingly. I don’t know the fact that I was born in Wales and suffer with this skin that can’t deal with the sun should dictate that Ridley should say, ‘In that case, he’s not the right man to play the role.’ I did the best that I can. I’m certainly not going to pass it up. It’s a hell of a role.”

Bale to Hollywood Reporter: “I don’t think you can make any religious adaptation without heckles being raised somewhere, that’s the nature of it. 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 [Scott] 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.'”

[From Entertainment Tonight & Hollywood Reporter]

Bale just can’t stop digging that hole. He can’t shut his mouth on this subject even though nothing good has come from his thoughts on the Exodus casting matter. He’s also defensive about taking the Moses role, which I sort of understand because Bale is so neurotic about delivering in any role. But Bale passes the buck by saying indie filmmakers must be the pioneers to change the way Hollywood casts culturally sensitive roles. Blockbusters can’t won’t take that risk, according to both Ridley and Chrstian. Nope.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale

Movie stills courtesy of 20th Century Fox; photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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123 Responses to “Christian Bale defends ‘Exodus’ casting: indies should make ‘the change’ first”

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  1. Lilacflowers says:

    Christian, stop talking!

    • M.A.F. says:

      Some times these people really are out of touch with reality.

      • TX says:

        As someone who worked in Hollywood I can tell you it’s just the opposite. He is very much IN touch with the Hollywood reality. Sad but true.

        And he is right, unfortunatly. Big productions won’t take the risk until they have proof it will work. Even then it’ll take a while. Trust me. I’ve sat in on a few casting sessions and it’s enough to crush your soul.

      • Beth says:

        I agree TX. I don’t think Bale is trying to absolve big-name directors or studios of the responsibility for racially-accurate casting. But I agree with him that it is more plausible for indies to galvanise this change when they don’t have millions of dollars at stake, huge box office pressure and typically appeal to a more niche (and left-leaning?) audience which are the types who would applaud racial diversity and accuracy in casting decisions.

    • mia girl says:

      Yup. I literally said this out loud. Gahhh!

    • The Original Mia says:

      Yes! I like him, but he sounds dumb and out-of-touch. I know the success of this movie is on his shoulders, but goodness…just stop talking.

  2. Kiddo says:

    Whut? Indies should make the change first? Em-kay. That was a cop-out. I get his point about not turning down a role that he’s interested in, including the paycheck, but he’s basically telling black people to make black films, isn’t he?

    • Abbott says:

      All I got was that he is some biblical hero because he’s persevered in Hollywood to big budget films despite the pigment of his meat casing.

    • Stef Leppard says:

      I don’t think he’s telling indie filmmakers to change first. He’s *predicting* that the change will begin with indie films and eventually bleed into studio films once the studios see that audiences are interested in and supportive of diverse casting. But I think it’s clear from the backlash that that IS what audiences are interested in.

      • Misprounced Name Dropper says:

        Maybe. Or maybe people like to just bitch about stuff and wouldn’t support the very films they’re calling for. As I’ve said before Hollywood isn’t the be all and end all. If people truly want diversity what’s stopping them from watching movies from other countries?

  3. Abbott says:

    Let us all open our hymnals to Exodus 3:42, “And the Lord saideth unto thee: Haveth a f**king seat, Batman.”

  4. Kitten says:

    Yeah….I’m starting to get really annoyed with him.

    That being said, I think he’s clumsily saying that big budget films have an obligation to get a solid return on their investment and if there isn’t a big audience for it, then they won’t take that chance.
    But how many big budget movies have Will Smith and Denzel carried? A LOT.

    It’s not like people like you or I won’t go see a movie like Exodus because black people are in it, but I think maybe the religious folks who are the target audience might just want to see a bunch of white faces. I wouldn’t call evangelicals open-minded people, you know?
    I don’t know…I have ZERO interest in this movie so maybe I’m just reaching here.

    • Kiddo says:

      Less than zero interest, here.

      • Kitten says:

        This will be an easy one to boycott for sure.

      • QQ says:

        Exactly, same here, PLUS we already had Prince of Egypt from Disney or whatever which was waaaayyy better cast AND Had the Dueling Divas doing a duet

        BUT Kitten, Let us not not act like you didn’t spill the truth tea up in this b*tch you know… The Xenophobic Christian Association of Texas.Heartland.ORG is NOT about to go to a movie with Brown Faces… Now Batman… with a Tan??!!? that’s good Old Wholesomeness there

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      If he really believes that, okay. But frankly, I think it’s an excuse and they’re all trying to blame the audience when in reality, they were just scared. And possibly lazy. And wanted big names to distract from the (and I’m just speculating here) mediocre plot? If the plot is really good and the marketing is good, and the FILM itself is good, you don’t need white people to sell it. If it’s mediocre and expensive as hell? Then you need them to feel safer apparently. That’s just my guess though, who knows. But no, I don’t believe that casting people of color in a blockbuster will lead to empty theaters. However, I can’t be sure because nobody has really tried, have they? Smith and Denzel are rare exceptions.

      Also, are religious folks really the target audience? Can they afford to make them the target audience with huge movies like this one? I think the target audience is probably … everyone and their dog?

      • Kitten says:

        All good questions and as I said, I honestly don’t know.
        As an atheist, I actively avoid all bible movies. I just have no interest whatsoever.

        I guess I was thinking of Passion of The Christ, which was a religious movie that was largely embraced by the evangelical community to the point where Evangelical Christian leaders like James Dobson and Billy Graham endorsed the movie as a teaching and evangelism tool to “save” those who have not yet been “born again.”

        That doesn’t mean that non-religious folks didn’t see the movie, plenty did for sure, but PoTC made the brunt of it’s money from the religious community, including church groups who took buses to the theater.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I would never go to the movies to learn about the bible so I’m with you on that. Except I’m an agnostic and honestly find the bible endlessly fascinating. Academically speaking. NOT in any other way. But my father has always been very interested in religion as an academic subject (all religions btw) and has always talked about it so passionately that I couldn’t help but get on board. So I would LOVE it if they made one of these movies and at least tried to get the most important aspects right. But apparently that’s too much to ask. It pisses me off. Whichever way you look at it, historically, culturally, etc., THIS is not even trying.

        I never watched The Passion of The Christ because from everything I read it did not sound like something I’d be interested in. This I’d watch as entertainment if frickin’ Sigourney Weaver wasn’t so jarringly miscast. I’m picking her because when during previews her face appeared I lost it. WHY?

      • lower-case deb says:

        i know you mentioned “Passion of the Christ” in the sentence directly preceding it, but my brain translated PoTC as Pirates of the Carribean and i stared into empty space for some minutes, wondering what a pirate with guyliner have to do with proselytizing.

        anyhow. back to Exodus. i’d watch Idris and Chiwetel duke it out as Pharaoh and Moses. i’d watch it many times actually.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s how I took it too and sadly he’s probably right – the big studios feel it’s a risk they don’t want to take.
      But I think he’s saying indies WILL do it first, not that they should, right? There’s a difference there. What I wish he would have said was that studios SHOULD do it first – it’d be nice to see big stars stepping up for diversity in casting, instead of sitting back and saying “yeah, they won’t do it.”

      He has not handled the press for this one well at all. It’s a tough spot, needing to promote the film and being asked about casting, something most actors don’t have much control over, but he should have regrouped at some point and found a better way to discuss it.

    • MrsB says:

      Meh. I’m a Christian (although I wouldn’t call myself evangelical) and we have always made it a point to tell our son that Jesus probably had dark skin, as did everybody back then. We bought him a Bible that had pictures of all sorts of different shades of people. It’s a topic that I have talked about with quite a few other friends in the church, and I can’t think of one person who has disagreed. So, I don’t think it’s fair to make a generalization that the Christian community only wants to see white people. Of course the church I go to, is a very diverse group of people, which I know is not always the case.

      • Kitten says:

        I didn’t say “Christian community” though, I said “Evangelicals” specifically. From my understanding, there is a very big difference between Christians and Evangelical Christians.

        In 90% of Christian churches today, one race constitutes more than 80% of each congregation and most white evangelicals attend segregated churches.

        BTW, you don’t have to be a willful racist to perpetuate racial inequalities.

      • MrsB says:

        I get where you’re coming from Kitten and I appreciate that you understand the difference between Christian and evangelical. But, in my experience the average person doesn’t distinguish between the two.

        A lot of churches are segregated still; we are very lucky that our church is close to 50/50. And, of course I understand that people can be racist without being willful and malicious. Hence, the reason we and many other people I know, make it a point to educate our children that even though the world has whitewashed the Bible and most of the pictures they will see will be that of a white Jesus/Moses/Noah, that it is wrong. I think it’s important.

        My main point, which I didn’t make clear at all, was that we should be blaming the execs and people who make decisions about the movies, instead of blaming the audience, or making assumptions about the audience. It’s pretty clear that lack of color is not just a problem in bible movies. It is an industry-wide problem.

    • Alexandra says:

      I said this a few days ago, but Life of Pi made $609,016,565 worldwide on a budget of $120.000.000. And how many familiar faces did it have, apart from Gerard Depardieu, who isn’t quite a box office draw? Of course Ridley couldn’t have gotten it financed with Mohammad *rolls eyes*…I call it BS, especially since Exodus’ budget is just $ 20. 000. 000 over Life of Pi. Since Scott is a director with influence, I think he could have fought for any actor he would have wanted. Sure, there are cases when studios want to play it safe and they flat-out refuse to cast less-known names for big roles, but never did any of the guys involved with Exodus mention about how they wanted a certain X in a particular role and they weren’t allowed to go with it. There are barely any movie stars today, people go less and less to movies to see a certain actor – it’s all about story and marketing.

      • FingerBinger says:

        It is a B.S. argument. Of course he could have gotten the movie financed. If Scott had wanted Verne Troyer as Moses, he still could have gotten this movie financed. If he was being honest he would have said white people don’t want to see black and brown faces as biblical figures. I would have more respect for that then saying it would be impossible for him to get the movie financed.

      • lucy2 says:

        That is an excellent point about Life of Pi (what a gorgeous movie that was). Even more so with Exodus, the appeal of the movie should be the spectacle and special effects – that’s what they’re selling in every commercial and trailer. Between that, and the well known director, I agree they could have done it without big name stars.

      • @Lucy2
        I think you could even make the argument that a lot of Christians would go see the movie simply because it’s a Bible story. I know that my dad, who is a Christian who hardly ever knows what movies are in the theater (unless they’re kid’s movies), made it a point to wait for Darren Afronsky’s “Noah” to come out on DVD (didn’t play where we lived), and bought it (and he was super pissed about the movie too, ha!), simply because it was about a Bible story.

        And he’s Ridley Scott–he’s not some unknown director. If he REALLY wanted to make this movie the right way, he would’ve came up with the funding SOMEWHERE. I’m not saying Egyptians back then were completely black, but I sure as hell know that they didn’t look European. And even then–I can sort of forgive Christian’s casting (because he is playing a Jewish person), but for Joel Edgerton’s charactor? WHATEVER. I think that this could’ve been a good opportunity to ‘ease’ an unknown actor in–that is Egyptian.

    • Bridget says:

      Or how about spending just $100 million instead of $200 (don’t forget to double the budget for marketing!) so there’s not as much financial risk hinging on the great white savior?

      Can you tell I think this whole thing is stupid?

  5. QQ says:

    Sis… Get THEEE ENTIRE AND FULL F*CK OUT OF HERE.. There is entirely NO reason why in 2014 a movie set in north africa and the arab world is cast full of white folks in dorky ass tans.. And then to add insult to injury THE SLAVES are the ones that get to be black?? Gtfo

    • BangersandMash says:

      Agreed!! 1000000000000% agreed

      Because what anti-christian Bale and Ridley Scott are essentially saying is that, Mohammed so-and-so is cast carrying a plate, and European (Middle eastern and North Africa… essentially a white man with a Snooki tan) Moses is cast to leading the people!
      And it’s up to independent films to be responsible.
      That argument is shot to sh*t!!


    • bonsai mountain says:

      Not to mention the fact that the Great Sphinx’s features are made to look more Anglo in this movie – that is a special brand of crazy. How can the casting be practically the same as The Ten Commandments, which was shot in 1956? How? Ridley Scott is ridiculous and offensive with his Mohammed comments. Even if he wanted Bale as his lead he could’ve diversified his cast. Easily. Such a cop out.

      • QQ says:

        let’s also NOT go into how JJ Abrahams got financing for “Star Wars: The Bullsh!t just Wont Die Already” just fine and he got to cast Unknown/women/PoC JUST fine and handy dandily.. so miss me with that

      • Mia4S says:

        @QQ, Star Wars? No sorry that’s a terrible analogy. Due respect to the young man cast in the lead but it’s a STAR WARS movie! He could have cast a stuffed teddy bear and had funding. Life of Pi is a more realistic measure.

    • Santia says:

      Preach! I hate when famous people are obtuse AND get a platform for their idiocy. Ridley Scott could easily have said, “I cast the best person I could get for Moses, and that was Christian Bale.” End of story. To make excuses and cast aspersions about “Mohammed” was offensive. But after casting Christian Bale, he could have easily made the rest of the cast diverse.

    • I Choose Me says:

      And then to add insult to injury THE SLAVES are the ones that get to be black?? Gtfo

      Yes! It’s that aspect of the whole snafu that really grinds my gears.

      I will not be seeing this.

    • sarah says:

      “the slaves, thieves & lower class citizens are black”
      Make your white Egypt but let the villains atleast be whites as well.
      They even built the Sphinx to look whiter Nordic statue. Ridley Scott is just a racist & now I’m starting to wonder about Batman as well. Bale is friends with Mark Wahlberg so…..

    • Josefa says:

      Ha, that’s the part I found hilarious as well. They went great lengths to explain the whiteness of their heroes but, hilariously so, remembered how people in Northern African actually look like when depicting the slaves and thieves. Yeah, right.

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    Oh shut it. I understand if an actor wants a particular part and will fight for it even if they’re not right for the part but THIS is just ridiculous. Indies should be pioneering diversity? WHAT? No, successful and powerful filmmakers should be doing that. Again, shut it.

    I hadn’t heard of this movie until I watched Interstellar a few weeks ago (ugh) and saw the preview. My FIRST thought was “Um, what’s with all the white people?” Please, this movie looks ridiculous if only because of the casting. And if ONE idiot comes at me with the “well we don’t really know what they looked like” argument, I’ll scream. We have a pretty good idea of what they probably looked like. Western European is not it. Also, if this is the argument, why are the dudes in the background allowed to look suspiciously dark??? Why aren’t they Scandinavian looking? This whole thing is stupid.

  7. Mmhmm says:

    Dear lord, shut up. And can we just agree that Ridley is not the incredible director everyone claims him to be? The only movie I liked from him is Alien. That’s it. I’m bored with all his other movies, including Gladiator, and this movie is getting mixed reviews.

    • M says:

      He is a great director. I love Blade Runner, Alien and Thelma and Louise( two films starring great female characters).
      I’m sure it was today, Alien would have been led by a man and Thelma and Louise wouldn’t have received the green light.
      He just need a great script.

      • lola says:

        I agree that Ridley Scott is a great director who just needs a good script. Prometheus was technically perfect. But the story sucks.

  8. Talie says:

    “what does an Egyptian look like? Especially at that time when this was the empire, so it would be a crossroads of Europe and the Middle East and Africa, and he cast accordingly.”

    This is based in truth, but I think most people just believe a few major roles should’ve went to people who weren’t white. End of story. Of course, they can’t say… the studio wouldn’t have financed it.

    • anthrochik says:

      what does an Egyptian look like? well not like the people depicted in this movie that’s for sure.
      the first pharoahs came from Nubia ( modern day sudan) and settled in the nile Delta and forged an empire. .. Up to this day you can see Pyramids in Sudan far older than the ones in seen in egypt which so it is easy to say that all those people at that time were darker ( hell if he hired a friggin anthropologist they’d know this looking at the skull shape alone would tell you these people hanging around Egypt were not European WASP looking people. look at your, Asian, Yemenite, Ethiopians , and Sudanese ethno grougs now and you will get a fair idea of what the population looked like at at the time. ridley was a coward he could have depicted something better but he didn’t . I am Jewish POC and I love the story of Moses.. but I will stick with prince of Egypt and not watch this.. just like I didn’t watch Noah for the very same reason.. I just hope that if some hollywood fool does a movie about king David or Solomon they don’t get some nordic blond haired blue eyed dude to portray him.

  9. Anna says:

    The more they speak, the louder I am about how we should all boycott Exodus: Gods and Whitewashing. I judge Bale for taking this role, and Edgerton (who I used to like!), and Weaver, and Paul, and even Ben Kingsley. If you took a role in this movie, it’s because you care more about making more money (which none of these people need) than honest representation and the plight of minorities in mainstream media.

    • Santia says:

      Anna – agreed. I said on another thread that this is the first movie I am actively boycotting. And I’m doing so exactly because they’ve dug in their heels and made these comments/excuses.

    • M says:

      In this case, we must start judging Jolie for the role of Marianne Pearl; Ben Affleck for the role of a latin in Argo; Lupita who auditioned for a Native American in Pan; Rooney Mara for the role of Native American in Pan; Johnny Depp Native American role in Lone Ranger, Al Pacino for the role of latin in Scarface, the list goes on …

      • Ahot says:

        Yes, & the change starts right now. Especially when they are so obnoxious about it.
        & FYI, Lupita auditionned for that role, yes. She auditioned & who got it? Rooney Mara. I am pretty sure the casting call either read POC or blind casting. Peeps just don´t show up randomly to those things.
        & all the others you mentioned are an offense to good taste. I am judging them.
        Al Pacino auditioned for the role of an italian; italians are historically caucasians white people (except the descendants of immigrants, of course).

      • Vixx says:

        Al Pacino is Latin. He has Italian name and Italian genetic heritage. Italians are Latins.
        Latins are not only brown and from Latin America.

        I’m originally from Brazil but my physical appearance goes against some American general assumptions. Snow white skin, brown hair and eyes, Italian surname and ancestors came from the Latin countries of Europe. Very simple to say it but hardly accceptable to some people. Everytime someone askes my ethnicity I’ve no idea what to say properly in US so I just claim to be White.

        Ahot is right about Al Pacino but if the Italian descendants are like me they are still very much like our ancestors.

      • sarah says:


        Lupita auditioned but a white woman named Rooney Mara got it so does that make you feel a little better?

      • M says:

        No, Sarah. Lupita would have been a better choice, I think both are talented, but Lupita has charisma, something that Rooney hasn’t. My point is that she auditioned. She wanted the role. She’s wrong? No, she is an actress in a competitive industry that wants a role.
        I will judge her for that? No. I will judge who chose her, but not her.

      • lunchcoma says:

        The Lone Ranger was a dreadful movie, and Pan sounds like it won’t be any better. I saw Scarface long ago, so the harm’s done there, but this theoretical mass boycott isn’t as scary-sounding as I think you expect it will be. Sounds like a good way to avoid many bad movies.

      • jinni says:

        Trust and believe that JD got dragged for his role in the Lone Ranger.

    • danni says:

      I cant understand from all those comments…what do you want instead???
      native jewish actors???? they are not black niether….i agree that actors who are very white with blond hair and blue eyes are not fit to this movie….but what are the suggestions?

  10. Lindy79 says:

    My feelings on everything to do with this can be summed up by a sassy llama

    Not eating what you’re supplying Christian

  11. jinni says:

    I highly doubt there were that many Europeans in Egypt during the time Exodus was taking place. If this was a movie based during a biblical time when Rome or Greece was in power sure, but even then it would not mean ( especially places like Wales or England) that Europeans from northern Europe had a big presence in those places. Most of the Caucasian people that were around during the time of Moses were from Central Asia and the Middle East and weren’t as pale as the actors in this movie.

    Also, as a another pointed out in the previous thread why is it that they can’t have African people in the main roles, but they can have them playing the parts of the thieves, random slaves in the background, and assassins? If Egyptians were allegedly white why not have all the Egyptians be white in the movie, why only show black faces in the roles with negative stereotypes?

    Lastly, how are indies going to be the ones to bring about the change when most indie director can barely ever get their work to be seen by the public? The big studio have the money to really try and push for change. Ridley is a well known, legendary director. If he really wanted he could have hired unknown actors of the right origins to play these lead roles. I bet hiring unknowns would have cut down budget cost since they wouldn’t have to be paid as much as well known actors. Plus, people were already going to see the movie since it has a built in fanbase because the stories is in one of the best selling books of all time (the Bible). So it wasn’t like they couldn’t have taken a chance on putting North African actors in the role and make the movie happen.

  12. PrettyBlueFox says:

    Let’s play a game: Onion headline or movie industry’s resting position? “Man Going To Trust Society’s Determination That He Deserves His Privilege”

  13. Jaderu says:

    Christian stop it. Shut it. Go back to the car and play with the radio.
    He’s definitely in the top 10 list of actors that should just act and not do interviews. Headed to #1 with a bullet. He’s on fire.
    We’ll be back with a long distance dedication.
    This is Casey Kasem.

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      I agree. Outside of his considerable talent, I don’t know why people like him so much, he seems EXHAUSTING. People think Idris Elba shouldn’t do interviews when this guy is permanently pissy and spitting fire? Is this man ever not pissed off? Sheesh, talk about taking your self too seriously. Christian, go home and take a nice, long soak and give special attention to your head.

  14. khymera says:

    Dont know what u people are talking bout I see three whole black guards.

  15. Mia4S says:

    Actually in his hellishly awkward way, he’s on to something (relax, the Exodis casting was still BS, hear me out). There are independent minority filmmakers AND incredible foreign films being made which are hugely diverse and utterly ignored by audiences. I’m willing to bet a large number of those up in arms about this film have never sought out Bollywood, or a Nigerian film (huge industry), or saw Belle in theaters. Hollywood will only change for one reason…money. Period. Investors right now believe they know what works. What you think they suddenly became interested in China and Chinese actors because of their extraordinary talent and culture? Money…period.

    • jinni says:

      You do know audiences can’t see movies that aren’t distributed in their area. right? We don’t all live in LA or NYC because those are like the only places were they release those types of movies on a regular basis.

      • Mia4S says:

        DVDs, Netflix, and there’s a reason independent cinemas in smaller towns died/are dying. The numbers don’t add up. I just get the impression that many people are saying diversity in cinema is important to them because it sounds good to say. Until the money reflexs it, Hollywood won’t give a damn.

      • Molly says:

        “I just get the impression that many people are saying diversity in cinema is important to them because it sounds good to say. ” Sod off, Mia4S.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        @ Mia4S: I really don’t think me watching a Bollywood movie will change Hollywood. That’s a different industry altogether and a massive one at that. Hollywood is white, that’s the sad truth. And we’re only asking for movies to reflect what most people see in their daily lives. Diversity. Why do I need to watch a Nigerian movie to prove I’m in favor of that?

      • lola says:

        Still, when I went to see Belle in this big theater, we were only 3 people.
        But it’s soooo much easier to blame Hollywood or that Christian Bale guy who yells on people.

    • Renee28 says:

      There have been a string of films recently with non-white leads that have been successful but Hollywood still acts like it’s a fluke. Saying people won’t see movies with non-white leads is just a BS excuse.

      • Mia4S says:

        I’m not saying people won’t see films with non-white leads. I’m saying that if the level of apparent outrage and importance that is placed on this issue online existed in real life, things would be happening. I should just let it go now, Internet “activism” is what it is. Change will come as it always does, glacier slow. 🙁

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      You’re blaming us for problems we can’t control, though. The independent theatres are closing because the big ones pushed them out and these film types you mention are simply not released or even available in our countries and don’t forget that Netflix outside of America is absolutely dismal. We can’t even watch domestic films if we don’t happen to be in Toronto for the single week it plays, if the run lasts that long . It is absolutely common for a Canadian film to be shown in one city, (Toronto, obviously), at one theatre for one weekend. That’s it, we get two days to see our own films! And should they play a foreign film, I promise you, it’s not going to come from Nigeria. The independent video stores are going the way of the indie theatres, too, meaning that we’re left with whatever happens to playing on TV, but that skews overwhelmingly European, with some Bollywood on specialty channels thrown in. Those films aren’t even subtitled the majority of the time. Really, your best bet is a very small selection sold in ethnic salons and grocers, that, or pirating. We want to see more diversity in films that we can actually see without a passport.

  16. Sara says:

    going to take another point of view from the other comments:
    what he says is true. its easy sitting in a chair in front of a computer and say “risk your 300 million dollar investment because otherwise i’ll call you names”.
    the problem of racism is not hollwoody problem but societies. if people still get angry when there is a black stormtrooper you wont see an executive or director putting his job on the line for something he can avoid.
    thats why the indy thing has truth to it, as soon as the bigger types in hollywood see that it works outside of Denzel and Will they’ll invest in money with non whites.

    hollywood is a business, its not their obligation to stand for social causes. as long as your job and your career future isnt threatened its easy to call for change.

    instead of calling people who merely state the truth of the economy of filmmaking racists you sohuld do what Christian says and support movies with PoC.
    if you want the studios to invest their money, why dont you make the first step with your own?

    • Dany says:

      never heard of this movie, sorry.
      to be fair i ignore Mel Gibson movies

    • M says:

      No, Apocalypto was a box office bomb, few people know about this movie.

    • FingerBinger says:

      I think Mel Gibson financed Apocalypto himself. I don’t think their was any major studio backing.

    • M says:

      @ FingerBinger, exactly. He always financed all his movies. I think he lost a lot of money with Apocalypto.

    • andypandy says:

      Missed in theaters saw it online don’t like Mel Gibson but that was one of the best movies ever !!! Was it Mel Backlash ?? because to me the movie was brilliant

    • lola says:

      Finally, someone saying the truth!
      I’m sick of those people always the first to call someone racist and being outraged by comments like Bale’s. But those people don’t support films with minorities. They are always saying that they wished Idris Elba was the hottest man of the year but they are only watching movies with one of those Chris they call basic.
      And yeah Apocalypto bombed and Belle grossed $10 000 000 (when I saw it we were only 3 people).
      So stop hatting on Christian Bale for saying the truth and not sugarcoating you.
      Hollywood may be racist but it’s all about the money. I mean, if they felt that what people want is minorities or women in leading roles, they would do it because all they care about is money.
      It’s easy to blame Hollywood, but YOU are the problem.

  17. scout says:

    This guy is super PASSIONATE about everything!

  18. MsMercury says:

    I have to lol at every single interview CB and RS do for this film. They just keep digging the hole deeper. Part of the problem with Hollywood is the racist power structure is already in place. They don’t want to hire poc for roles and make them big names so when casting comes up for movies like this no big stars who are poc who can play these roles, so they continue to use white actors. It is such BS.

    Someone on another website reminded me of Life of Pi which did really well. So I guess it can be done, but most directors are scared to change the status quo.

  19. Molly says:

    He’s just… he’s not a smart guy. He didn’t get much education in his life and had been forced into acting when he was a kid to provide for his family. That has never been more evident than over these past few weeks. He just DOESN’T GET IT. He needs to shut up or use a publicist who isn’t a moron. (Also, did you see that he was backpedaling on those comments about Clooney whining? LOL Bow down, Bale.)

    • M says:

      He didn’t say anything about Clooney, was the guy who brought Clooney for the interview.

    • sarah says:

      People give Bale wayyyy too much credit. There is a reason he sounds like an ignorant, privileged fool. He doesn’t have any education & it is starting to show.

    • M says:

      Molly, It wasn’t directly to Clooney, but for those who complain. Read the interview.

      • Molly says:

        I read the interview, perhaps you should. His comment was directed at Clooney and other celebrities who are guilty of what he considers whining.

  20. Duckie says:

    Now I REALLY want this mess of a movie to bomb.
    Not a thing he said made sense and even the argument that the big budget movie won’t risk because the studios risk more money was explained very badly. Every country has its own movie industry, so yeah people support their own filmmakers and actors. The issue is that Hollywood’s movies are set in the US and therefore should represent one of the most multicultural countries in the world but they mostly don’t. So, when they decide to set a movie in North Africa people expect some kind of plausibility,not white people with eyeliner and darker skinned people exclusively as slaves and criminals,LOL.
    And the “I suffer with this skin that can’t deal with the sun” had me rolling!

  21. Moi says:

    CB’s comment is nowhere near as terrible as most are stating, in my opinion. He is correct. It is up to us, the audience, to support North African and Middle Eastern filmmakers. And in turn, that fear that blockbuster filmmakers may have of losing millions upon millions of dollars from using a darker skinned leading actor, will cease to exist.

    I took his comment in the way that it is up to the public, not the filmmakers, to stimulate change.

    • Ahot says:

      yup! & it starts by me NOT supporting this one!

    • sarah says:

      don’t worry we won’t support Ridley Whites movie.

    • Duckie says:

      I respectfully disagree.Many movies made by POC filmmakers have been successful… many movies made with POC cast have been
      successful…. This shows that audiences support movies with a diverse cast,the same goes for TV. In 2014 it seems crazy to me that they still use this trope to justify the lack of leads of color in a movie set in Egypt, not in Iceland.

      • Exactly. If they don’t want to hire any non-white people for lead roles, the next step is to not make any films that REQUIRE non-white people for lead roles. It’s real simple. Don’t want to have to hire a black man for a role, don’t make a movie set in Africa. About AFRICANS.

      • lola says:

        Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s what I keep reading and then the Iris character in the Flash get a lot of hate for being played by a black actress…

  22. sarah says:

    So if a white, straight male like Ridley Scott cannot get funding for a “Mohammed so & so” how can a non white indie director from a foreign country get the same kind of exposure??

    “the fact that I was born in Wales and suffer with this skin that can’t deal with the sun should dictate that Ridley should say, ‘In that case, he’s not the right man to play the role.’ I did the best that I can. I’m certainly not going to pass it up. It’s a hell of a role.”

    And poor Bale born with lily white skin must have been so hard for him. #whitepeoplesuffertoo

  23. Amy says:

    Not even shocked or angry.

    That is the mentality that makes white-washing palatable for individuals. They have to think, “Well the lines are a little blurry, maybe there were whites back then.” “Well we’re working with such huge amounts and I need big (WHITE) stars to finance it”

    A system can’t fail you if it was never meant for you.

    Whites get cast for everything, including films that should have a more ethnic cast in a more prominent starring role. They move up the A-B-C- fame list quickly, they become the ‘Non-Muhammads’ of the world who can quickly get any story financed so long as the percentage of minorities is kept to below 25% (unless it a slave or martial arts film). Minorities always hover stagnant around B-C. They’ve got the talent, try out for the roles and don’t get picked.

    Oh everyone likes and respects them…they just don’t want to hire them.

    Then there are so many excuses about how it’s ‘risky’. So essentially the system never changes and people can keep relying on the excuse. This would even be tolerable if they’d stop trying to do ‘exotic’ films with no respect for others. I didn’t even really know about Bale’s previous comments and didn’t blame him at all for this movie, but now I’m of the opinion his ignorance is exactly what makes the system continue to work (for him).

    You know his skin suffers so…

  24. moot says:

    This is for all those people who complain that we don’t criticise men the way we criticise women: Christian Bale fires up all kinds of alarms for me. Probably started with American Psycho which was his creepy character and not him, per se, but I haven’t heard much press about him that makes me think he’s the kind of person I want to spend any casual or meaningful time with. (Yeah, I’m sure he’s very sweet with his wife and kids.)

    I would say this about sums up what white entitlement looks like.

    Thanks for demonstrating that, Christian Bale. Appreciate it.

    • I don’t think that he even really thought about it when accepting the role; just like Joel Edgerton. When you are white, you really don’t have to think about the injustices that other minority races have gone through–especially if you don’t ‘mix’.

      Where my dad grew up, there weren’t many, if any non-white people that he interacted with on a daily basis. So when he married my mom, and brought his five mixed race children back to where he grew up, I don’t think he knew how to handle the looks and comments that we all got. My mom got called the n-word in front of her mother in law the first night she got to our home by a group of drunks. My mom was “mistaken” for my older sister, by my older sister’s boss–despite the fact that my mom has dark skin, and my sister looks like a typical Italian girl (pale skin, green eyes, and wavy black hair). And when we were in elementary school, no one would play with my twin brother because he had dark skin.

      And that all made my mom pissed off, so she started buying dvd’s on the civil rights era–and my dad watched them, and his eyes were like 0_0. And before all of that, it was kind of easy for him to dismiss it. Because he never had experienced it.

  25. manta says:

    Why the surprise? Ridley Scott already did it. In Body of lies, Mark Strong played a top ranking Jordan official, Oscar Isaac an arabic character. The onyly difference is that they were supporting roles.

    It’s safe to say that accuracy in ethnicity for his castings isn’t exactly a priority.

  26. Izzy says:

    Wasn’t Moses Jewish?

    This movie is such a fail on every level. I hope it ruins careers, the way they’re acting about legitimate complaints.

    • sarah says:

      Christian Bale said Moses might not have existed & people would think he is schizophrenic anyway so I think they are cutting out the God/Jewish leader “bit” from it. He’s more of a Gladiator type meathead in this movie.

  27. bgyu says:

    There will always, always be reasons to white wash a cast. Because of people like christian bale and Ridley Scott who think they’re liberal but are worse than actual racists themselves who at least openly acknowledge their bigotry. (I can’t believe I used that as a plus point). And for those claiming big budget diverse movies won’t be successful, let’s just point out the success of fast and furious which has been getting more popular as the cast grows more diverse. The first movie did have a white lead but also a POC as the other lead. That could have been easily applied in this situation as well but there was absolutely no interest in them to do so.

  28. lunchcoma says:

    “I can certainly understand the controversy, but of course, my job in this is just to bring as much to the character of Moses as I can. It was fascinating to be able to portray him, and I’m very excited with what we’ve created.”

    Would that be so hard, Christian? Seriously, I don’t expect you to go on record admitting you were miscast. You wanted the work, just like many other actors did. But you don’t have to keep making things worse by going further into the subject.

  29. Kali says:

    I got to see this last weekend and I have to say that hiring a few more non-lily White actors actually would’ve served the story FAR better. Joel Edgerton in particular is incredibly distracting as all you can see is the spray tan/foundation/bronzer combo. There’s also one of Ramses advisors who is an English or Scottish character actor who is a total “hey it’s THAT guy” where the paint job (gross term but it’s accurate) is particularly egregious.

    What’s really sad is that so many of the supporting roles are particularly thankless in the film overall, Sigourney Weaver as Tuya in particular, and he could’ve gotten away with casting someone lesser-known of ANY kind of colour.

    Surely Cliff Curtis would’ve been available for Ramses? I thought he was Hollywood’s go-to “ethnic guy”. Surely he could’ve added Egyptian to the list of 20 ethnicities he’s already played.

    • Josefa says:

      That’s what I was thinking too. Morals aside, casting white actors in a film like this is impractical, even.

      Bale is the only A-lister in the cast, anyway. Couldn’t they just get other B-C list actors of color to fill the other roles?

      • Kali says:

        Exactly! While the bronzer job on Bale is pretty gross, he’s good enough to overcome it and his performance eventually sucks you in. You can’t tell me that Joel Edgerton is a big enough draw that it was NECESSARY to cast him as well.

  30. Deedee says:

    That mole on his inner eye is annoying.

  31. Peppa says:

    I’m glad there was an article on this and that so many of you mirror my opinions on the subject. I just remember seeing the trailer for this in front of Gone Girl and thinking “holy whitewashing Batman” (every pun intended). John Turturro is so much better than this. Man you were in Barton Fink… first Transformers, now this? Please call up the Coen Brothers and start acting in their films again!

  32. Alec says:

    I would rather watch the beautiful sheik from Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Amr Waked) than Bale.

  33. Marianne says:

    Really? Indies have to be the ones to make changes? There are a lot of great indies out there with mulch-cultural casts. Problem is that they just dont make the same kind of money that blockbusters do. Even the ones with predominantly white casts. There are so many people out there who never go out to see indie flicks. They’ll only see the latest Transformers or GI Joe. So why can’t the change start with blockbusters? Those kind of movies always make money no matter how poor the script is.

  34. nic says:

    I googled “Egyptian ethnicity” and found that the skin colour of ancient Egyptians is not able to be determined. Egyptians now have a variety of skin tones, just like everyone else – there is no reason to assume ancient Egyptians were any less diverse. The preoccupation with skin colour is the problem, not the skin colour itself.