Exodus news round-up: a set visit, a casting controversy, and who exactly is Ben Mendelsohn playing?

2014-08-04 14.06.09The current issue of Empire magazine has a report from the set of Exodus: Gods and Kings, and while it doesn’t have all that much new information, it does include a few new pictures and a few new details.

For one thing, it confirms that the giant face we saw in the first official photo from the film is meant to be an image of Ramses II, the Pharaoh played by Joel Edgerton — and it adds the detail that this monument is part of a massive new city being built by the Hebrews called Pi-Ramses. So it looks like this film will follow the scholarly convention of equating the biblical city “Rameses”, mentioned in Exodus 1, with the historical Pi-Ramesses.

The article also mentions that the film will feature “seven — count ’em! — plagues and natural disasters”. Only seven? There are ten in the Bible, though this needn’t be an inaccuracy on the film’s part. If memory serves, The Ten Commandments (1956) really only showed three — the water turning to blood, the hailstorm and the death of the firstborn — but it alluded to the others in its dialogue. So it’s certainly possible that Exodus might show “only” seven but allow for the other three somehow.

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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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