Though the eyeliner managed to fool almost everyone, a few have noticed that Exodus: Gods and Kings sees Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul and other conspicuously white people playing ancient Egyptians. For those few, now here are director Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox owner Rupert Murdoch on how that is totally fine.
Speaking to Variety about why, in 2014, an Egypt-set historical drama is whiter than a modern Gap ad, Scott claimed that "the question [of casting Middle Eastern actors] doesn't even come up." At least not until it immediately comes up as soon as he casts the guy from Great Gatsby as a pharaoh.
Scott explained that, for him, the issue had less to do with race than financing. "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," he said. As many who visited relatives last week can attest to, there's just something about the Thanksgiving season that gets 70-somethings casually explaining huge issues away with the phrase "Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such."
Still, Murdock, meanwhile, had his own explanation for why Ramesses II looks suspiciously like Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen. According to him, it's actually not the catch-22 of Middle Eastern actors not being big names, and thus not getting the big parts that the investors want filled with stars. In fact, it's not even an issue at all. It's just that Egyptians are white. At least all the ones he knows (and does he know some!).
As Murdoch tweeted, "Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are."
Expectedly, that comment received an at-best mixed reception from various so-and-sos from such-and-such, so Murdoch followed it with some muddled clarification.
"Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves," he said. He later added, "Okay, there are many shades of color. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!" Because when have rich, elderly, white men ever failed or been out-of-turn in being the arbitrators of what's racist?