Director Ridley Scott, best known for the 1979 masterpiece science-fiction thriller Alien, as well as blockbusters Running Man, Thelma and Louise, the Oscar-winner Gladiator as well as American Gangster starring Denzel Washington, took a lot of grief last year when he failed to cast a single Black person in the big-budget Biblical film Exodus.
Unmoved and undeterred by the criticism from urbanites, Scott came out and boldly stated that there was no way possible that Exodus would have been made if the cast was full of Black people (translation: a historically-correct film would not have been financed).
Ridley Scott gave a wide-ranging interview to Deadline over the weekend around the premiere of his forthcoming space drama “The Martian” at the Toronto International Film Festival, and one of the topics discussed was the casting controversy around his 2014 Biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” in which the director and his collaborators came under fire for casting white movie stars including as Egyptians (Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton played Moses and Ramesses II, respectively).
At the time Scott told those threatening a boycott of the movie to “Get a life,” and now he’s doubling down on his stance, noting that the $145 million film never would have been made in the first place had he not cast Caucasian movie stars in the lead roles.
DEADLINE: Exodus was visually overwhelming, you created that ancient world and brought the plagues in all their vivid horror, and yet the fixation was on how you didn’t hire indigenous actors in the lead roles. In hindsight, is there something you might have done differently?
SCOTT: Nah. Some have said, isn’t Christ black? He could have been. It depends on what part of North Africa he comes from, but how do we know? The short sharp crude answer is, I couldn’t get a film like that mounted for that kind of budget—we were $145 million, not $260 million, so that wasn’t bad– but to make Moses black and his wife Ethiopian? They never would have made the movie.