Exodus: Gods and Kings interview round-up: production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates

vlcsnap-2014-12-30-11h47m23s59Now that it is out there for everyone to see — and now that it is failing with critics and audiences alike — it seems highly unlikely that Exodus: Gods and Kings will be remembered for any major awards come Oscar time. The film has already, in fact, been snubbed by the Academy’s visual-effects and makeup & hairstyling branches, which neglected to include Ridley Scott’s Bible epic on their shortlists.

There is still hope for some of the other below-the-line talent, though, a few of whom are still promoting the film — and their role in making it — in the trades and other outlets. What follows is a round-up of some of the more recent interviews.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings: no “parting” of the Red Sea? Also: Christian Bale says Moses was “likely schizophrenic”.

vlcsnap-2014-10-01-12h49m26s72Last month, I asked if Exodus: Gods and Kings was going to offer a “naturalistic” depiction of the parting of the Red Sea, rather than a miraculous one. My question was prompted by a comment that Ridley Scott made to the effect that the Red Sea story may have been inspired by a giant tsunami that supposedly hit the coast of Egypt thousands of years ago. At the time, it was not clear whether Scott was actually going to incorporate that theory into his film — but now, thanks to an interview in Entertainment Weekly, it seems pretty clear that he will.
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Aussie- and Canadian-born actresses join Spike TV’s Tut

tut-deen-bunburyWhile controversy continues to swirl around Exodus: Gods and Kings — with various Twitter users arguing that the Pharaohs and their relatives should have been played by black actors rather than actors of European and Palestinian descent — the casting directors on the Spike TV series Tut continue to go a somewhat different route. Having already cast Avan Jogia and Ben Kingsley — both of whom are half-Indian — as the Pharaoh Tutankhamun and his grand vizier, the producers have now cast Sibylla Deen, an Australian who is half-English and half-Pakistani, as Tutankhamun’s sister (and wife) Anke. Deadline also reports that Kylie Bunbury, daughter of the Guyanese-Canadian soccer star Alex Bunbury and his Polish-Swedish-American wife Kristi Novak, is playing someone named Suhad.

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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The next Pharaoh… will come from Vancouver

avanjogiaWe have a King Tut! The Hollywood Reporter says Avan Jogia, a 22-year-old born in my native Vancouver, has been cast as the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, who died when he was about 18, in the Spike TV miniseries Tut. He joins the previously announced Ben Kingsley, who will play Tutankhamun’s grand vizier. Interestingly, both of these actors are half-British and half-Indian — and Reece Ritchie, who played the Pharaoh in the recently cancelled Hieroglyph, is a half-English, half-South African actor who has often played Indian characters himself, in films and TV shows like The Lovely Bones, All in Good Time and White Heat. Apparently the casting agents on these shows want to move away from the Caucasian casting that has proved so controversial on films like Exodus: Gods and Kings (coming December 12) and Gods of Egypt (coming in 2016), but they also aren’t inclined to follow the Afrocentrist line which holds that just because Egypt is on the African continent, it therefore follows that the ancient Egyptians must have been just as dark-skinned as the Nubians or Ethiopians, etc. The solution, it seems, has been to cast actors who fall somewhere between the two extremes, pigmentation-wise.

He’s Pharaoh! He’s Moses! He’s somebody else entirely! Ben Kingsley talks Exodus, appears in Night at the Museum trailer

vlcsnap-2014-07-31-22h09m42s196Two movies. Same studio. Coming out only a week apart. Both of them have something to do with ancient Egypt. And both of them star Ben Kingsley in a prominent supporting role.

One of those movies is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third in the series about a bunch of museum exhibits that come to life at night. The series already has a Pharaoh — Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), who appears in all three films — but Kingsley joins the series as yet another Pharaoh in this newest film.

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