Moses and the Pharaoh have swords in new Exodus posters

The first posters for Exodus: Gods and Kings are here — and for a film that is supposedly going to be promoted as the next big battle epic from the director of Gladiator, it’s striking to see how sombre and lacking in action these first promotional images are.

They’re also strangely colourless. As you can see from the main poster to the right — which shows Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses kind of glaring at each other while they touch their swords — the images are essentially black-and-white, except for gold-tinted highlights and just a hint of blue.

I also can’t recall ever seeing a Moses movie that made a pyramid as central to its imagery as this poster does. It gives the poster an Illuminati-esque feel, and I’m afraid the first thing it brings to mind is the fact that Exodus director Ridley Scott is attached to an HBO series which will play on the idea that the ancient Egyptian civilization was built in part with help from aliens.

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Muslim responses to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah

While flood stories are common to many ancient mythologies, the story of Noah per se first appears in the Book of Genesis, which is common to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. So it goes without saying that Christians and Jews have been actively debating the merits of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah since before the film came out two weeks ago.

But the story of Noah is also central to the Muslim faith; there is even an entire sura devoted to him in the Koran. Despite this, there hasn’t been much talk about Muslim responses to the film, at least not in my news feeds, apart from some mention of the fact that certain Muslim countries have banned the film while certain other countries haven’t.

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Ridley Scott to explore whether Moses was agnostic, etc.

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly has an article on ‘Hollywood’s New Holy War’. The hook for the story is the three Bible movies coming out this year, but the story itself takes a broader look at how movie studios have been openly courting the Christian demographic ever since the surprise success of The Passion of the Christ ten years ago.

Sometimes, as the article notes, the studios’ efforts have been pretty successful (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Blind Side), and sometimes they have been… not so successful (The Nativity Story, Evan Almighty).

But what catches my eye is a sidebar on Ridley Scott’s life-of-Moses movie Exodus, which has a couple of new quotes from Scott and Christian Bale:
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Ridley Scott’s “unconventional depiction of God” in Exodus

Many blogs were quick to note The Hollywood Reporter’s story today on the making of Noah. Few if any, however, noted a sidebar to the Reporter story which gave a nod to the other two Bible movies coming out this year, i.e. Son of God and Ridley Scott’s Exodus.

The sidebar doesn’t offer much new info about either of those films, but it does include this bit about Exodus: “Details are scarce, but sources tell THR that Scott, an avowed agnostic, has chosen an unconventional depiction of God in the film. If so, it faces the same challenge in wooing religious audiences as Noah does.”

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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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Interview: Ridley Scott & Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven, 2005)

LOS ANGELES, CA — There have been surprisingly few films about the Crusades, and most have been ambivalent at best about the legacy of those wars.

Perhaps the biggest Hollywood production until now was Cecil B. DeMille’s The Crusades (1935), a pious romance that impressed future Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser so much that he allowed DeMille to use the Egyptian army as extras in his remake of The Ten Commandments.

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