Casting in Hollywood has always been predominantly White. You can argue about certain stars or certain roles, but that’s the cold, hard truth. Regardless of the film, the leads have always been a certain race, and in a perfect world, I could just easily say “the most talented person got the job.” But in this world of appealing to the biggest audience possible, the minority is more marginalized than ever before. That’s why Exodus: Gods and Kings stands out so much.
It was a chance to highlight non-White actors and actresses (at least there’s half an attempt with Ben Kingsley and Indira Varma), but they’re stuck playing the terribly lesser roles. But Ridley Scott spoke to this decision in an interview with Yahoo and I kind of maybe might see where he’s trying to come from:
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.
Scott also once said that he approached these characters as if they were “real” people. So real, in fact, Egypt is all white everywhere. I’m sure Christian Bale is going to do an okay job, but ugh. I’m just going to drop this and watch The Prince of Egypt again. At least in that film the White actors were all voicing racially appropriate characters. Exodus: Gods and Kings releases December 12th.[Yahoo, via /Film]