Exodus: Gods and Kings: new photos, a new Entertainment Weekly profile, and hints of a trailer coming soon

At last, I can finally stop rotating the same three or four pictures of Christian Bale as Moses at the top of my Exodus: Gods and Kings posts!

Entertainment Weekly posted a “first look” at Ridley Scott’s movie today, including five new photos and a handful of interview snippets. The Italian website Cinemamente also posted a couple of behind-the-scenes shots that I had never seen before, including the picture above.

On top of all that, the movie’s first trailer, which was recently shown to exhibitors in Europe, was approved by the film classification boards in at least two Canadian provinces last week. The Alberta website gives the trailer a PG rating and says it runs 90 seconds, while the British Columbia website says it runs 96 seconds, but in any case, it sounds like we’ll all get to see the trailer for ourselves fairly soon.

More pictures and interview snippets below the jump, including Sigourney Weaver as an Egyptian queen, Aaron Paul as Joshua and Ben Kingsley as Joshua’s father.

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From fighting the Crusaders to advising the Pharaohs

Here’s another bit of casting news for Ridley Scott’s Exodus — and one that doesn’t seem to be reflected on the movie’s IMDb page yet.

The Syria Times reports that Ghassan Massoud, who previously played Saladin in Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (2005), has just finished playing one of the Pharaohs’ advisers in Scott’s life-of-Moses movie. This is how the Times describes his character:

Sometimes, he is silent, satisfied with watching everything in an observer’s eye, and other times he talks and gives Ramses advices when necessary. His silence is wanted to be as effective as his talk.

The Pharaohs in the film are Ramses, played by Joel Edgerton, and his father Seti, played by John Turturro. Also, the older Pharaoh’s wife is being played by Sigourney Weaver, while his daughter Bithiah is being played by Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass. As you can see, the casting on this film has been ethnically… eclectic.

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Ben Kingsley set to co-star in his second or third Moses movie; other actors also join Ridley Scott’s Exodus

I haven’t seen it in years, but of all the movies that have been made about the life of Moses, one of my favorites is the Lux Vide production Moses (1995), starring Ben Kingsley. As I said in my review of the film at the time:

For sheer human realism, Kingsley’s is probably the best interpretation of Moses any film has offered to date. He stutters nervously in the Egyptian courts; he wrestles with his doubts when God’s plans seem to fail; he rejoices ecstatically when the Pharaoh’s chariots drown; and he sheds painful tears when the Levites kill their fellow Hebrews for worshiping the golden calf.

So I’m feeling a bit of déjà vu now that Kingsley has reportedly joined the cast of Ridley Scott’s life-of-Moses movie Exodus. Admittedly, he will not be playing the part of Moses himself this time; that role has already gone to Christian Bale. Instead, according to Deadline, Kingsley will play “a Hebrew scholar”.

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Ben Kingsley as King Herod? Judi Dench as Anna?

Three months ago, the producers behind Mary Mother of Christ — a sort of “prequel” to The Passion of the Christ co-written by that film’s Benedict Fitzgerald and my fellow Patheos Movies blogger Barbara Nicolosi — said they were thinking of casting “one of England’s most famous Academy Award winners” as King Herod.

At the time, I noted that there are currently nine actors alive who are both (a) British and (b) Academy Award winners — and although I didn’t say so at the time, I had a feeling that the filmmakers might be talking to Ben Kingsley. For one thing, he is still quite active, unlike, say, the retired Sean Connery; for another, he has been involved with a number of modestly-budgeted Bible movies before, from the two-part TV-movies Joseph (1995) and Moses (1995) to the animated version of The Ten Commandments (2007).

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Review: The Ten Commandments (dir. Bill Boyce & John Stronach, 2007)

Another year, another Moses movie. Cecil B. DeMille made two movies called The Ten Commandments — one in 1923, during the silent era, and the other in 1956, starring Charlton Heston and a whole lot of deliciously campy dialogue — so it only makes sense that others would continue to tell this story, even to the point of recycling the title. In the past few years alone, we have seen a TV mini-series called The Ten Commandments as well as The Ten Commandments: The Musical — a straight-to-DVD adaptation of a stage production starring Val Kilmer, who once provided the voice of Moses for the big-budget cartoon The Prince of Egypt.

Now comes the low-budget cartoon — and this film, too, features at least one actor who has parted the Red Sea before. The computer-animated version of The Ten Commandments, which opens in theatres this week, is the first in a projected 12-part series of epic Bible stories, and the warm, smooth voice that narrates the movie is provided by Ben Kingsley, who once starred in the 1996 mini-series Moses.

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Review: Thunderbirds (dir. Jonathan Frakes, 2004)

Say what you will about the Spy Kids trilogy and its sometimes wildly incoherent storylines, but at least those films had an infectiously childlike spirit that felt very age-appropriate. Watching them, you got the impression that director Robert Rodriguez and the children in his employ had a blast playing with their toys in the cinema sandbox. As with all things successful, the Spy Kids movies spawned a number of imitators, and the dullest and lamest of the lot so far may be Thunderbirds, a live-action remake of the televised marionette show from the mid-1960s. Once again, regular children have to save their super-agent parents from some sort of villain, but Thunderbirds has nothing to offer in place of the surrealism and Latino cool that made Spy Kids so much fun; instead of a playful romp, the film has the workmanlike feel of a project that everyone did just for the paycheck.

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