Great Escape

Text: Jörg Schiffauer, Erwin Van Steede Fotos: Twentieth Century Fox

Christian Bale follows in the footsteps of Charlton Heston in playing Old Testament figure Moses in Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” The “Dark Knight” star, however, hopes that audiences won’t draw comparisons between the two performances from different eras.

One of the most terrifying creatures ever to appear on screen marked his breakthrough: Alien (1979) quickstarted Ridley Scott’s impressive career in feature film and he never looked back. Born 1937, Scott studied at the Royal College of Art in London and had established himself as director of commercials and TV adverts before he accomplished his first feature film, The Duellists in 1977. His Sci-Fi-Thriller Alien is simply a masterful piece of filmmaking which still is regarded as most influential in that genre and has all the features that are typical for Ridley Scott’s work: a distinct visual style, precise and effective way of storytelling and the ability to create an unmatched dense atmosphere. In more than three decades, Scott has proven his craft along highly different genres and subjects and hereby created more than one masterpiece of modern cinema. Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster may be the most striking ones. With his new film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ridley Scotts turns his attention to a biblical epic tale, when Moses rises up against the Egyptians, frees his people from slavery and leads them to the Promised Land – a subject, which the legendary Cecil B. DeMille has taken up in The Ten Commandments in 1958, when Charlton Heston played Moses and Yul Brynner his antagonist, Pharao Rameses. The Cast of Exodus: Gods and Kings includes Sigourney Weaver (the unforgettable heroine from Alien is reunited here with Scott), Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul and John Turturro. The difficult task of portraying a figure like Moses is taken up by one of the most renowned actors of his generation, Christian Bale. During his distinguished career Bale has excelled himself in playing a plethora of rather different characters in blockbusters as well as in Arthouse-Productions, among them Batman in Christopher Nolan’s remarkable trilogy featuring The Dark Night, a former professional boxer whose best days are way behind him in The Fighter – a performance for which Christian Bale received an Academy Award – , the FBI Agent who caught John Dillinger in Public Enemies and a con man in American Hustle. His willingness to go to extremes in embodying those characters – Bale lost 30 kg and brought his weight down to 54 kg for The Machinist – is legendary and directors like Nolan, Michael Mann, David O. Russell, Terrence Malick, Todd Haynes and Werner Herzog are eager to cast him. Christian Bale talks about his iconic role in Exodus: Gods and Kings and working with a legendary filmmaker like Ridley Scott.

Where were you on the Moses awareness scale before you joined this project?

I have no idea. Charlton Heston?

You were a voracious reader about the subject.

There’s so much interest in the material. The Torah and other works, which takes a bit of getting used to. A number of other sources that people recommended to me. One of the ones I enjoyed was “Moses, a Life” by Jonathan Kirsch, and the Koran.

Read more in the print edition.  

Exodus: Gods and kings
Drama, USA 2014 – Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Jeffrey Caine, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Steven Zaillian
Dariusz Wolski Edited by Billy Rich Music by Alberto Iglesias
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley,
Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro, Maria Valverde
Distribution Twentieth Century Fox, 142 Minutes
Release Dezember 25th