Tuesday 29 of November, 2022
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Ridley Scott: 'Mohammad So-and-So' Won't Make Me Money

After being accused of 'cinematic colonialism' after it emerged that not one Arab or Egyptian actor were cast in lead roles in Exodus, Ridley Scott has caused another wave of controversy ...

Staff Writer

Backlash continues to follow acclaimed director Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus for his decision of making a film set in Egypt without using any Egyptians. Trying to defend his decision Ridley Scott recently did an interview with Variety trying to put the controversy to rest only to add more fuel to its flame.

The massive budget blockbuster is based on the biblical story of the exodus of Jews from Egypt. When it came time to casting the film Scott turned to Christian Bale to play Moses in the film, Joel Edgerton (as Ramses), Sigourney Weaver (as Tuya), John Turturro (as Seti I) and Aaron Paul (as Joshua) to play the film's major characters. Despite being talented none of these actors are Egyptian, but more importantly they are white and would never pass as people from the region. Just like American would be upset if someone made a film of the American revolution and used only Asians, Arabs from around the region took to social media to express their frustrations about the film authenticity.

"Ridley Scott is one of those guys who’s apparently hellbent on historical accuracy but doesn’t care enough to cast a person of color as Moses or a goddamn African queen while simultaneously filling out the rest of the movie with black servants and thieves," David Dennis Jr. wrote in a post on Medium. "But to make the main characters white and everyone else African is cinematic colonialism. It’s creating a piece of historical 'art' that carries on oppressive imagery that’s helped shackle entire countries and corners of the world."

Attempting to justify his decision Ridley Scott previously told Yahoo! Australia that “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.

At the time, his answer failed to satisfy critics, but with his recent interview he explains the decision was totally financial saying "I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up." The tax rebate that Scott refers to is a European tax credit that reduced the budget from $200 million to $140 million.

The film is set to be released December 12th, and we won’t be surprised if it doesn’t make it to the Middle East at all.