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Pros and Cons

Sigourney Weaver Joins Ridley Scott’s Exodus, the Christian Bale Is Moses Movie

Ridley Scott and the Old Testament aren’t really two things that you would expect to come together in a creative project, but at the very least you can assume this about Exodus: it’ll be really interesting.

The film already has Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton on as Moses and Ramses, but the Hollywood Reporter has more news on the rest of the Pharaoh family as it fills out. Sigourney Weaver will be taking the role of Tuya, Ramses’s mother (and so presumably Moses’ adoptive mother), with John Turturro as her husband, and you may commence humming any piece of music from The Prince of Egypt… now.

Aaron Paul is in talks to play a “supporting role as a Hebrew slave” who may or may not be Joshua, rounding out what’s so far a particularly white cast, considering its setting and time period. Then again, I can’t say that historical bible is something that’s even remotely within my wheelhouse, so I could be wrong. An all white cast is certainly just as annoying as a cast where all the Egyptians are undefinable shades of brown and all the Hebrews are recognizably white. (I’m looking at you, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Or I would be, if you had ever existed. Which you didn’t. It’s too bad, really, I feel like a live action adaptation of The Last Airbender is something fans would get really excited about.)

IMDB has Exodus slated for a 2014 release, probably late 2014, if the film is still in pre-production and in talks with castmembers. It’s hard to imagine Ridley Scott, of all people, making a straight retelling of a book of the Old Testament, especially one with a very well established and beloved live action cinematic adaptation, so I’ll be interested to see what angle or twist the director is taking on the story.

(picture via Flickr, story via The Hollywood Reporter.)

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  • AverageDrafter

    “Ridley Scott and the Old Testament aren’t really two things that you would expect to come together in a creative project”

    Gladiator, 1492, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood…

    Yeah, he has no interest in historical fiction. None at all.

    Edit – I’m sorry, my snark sequencer is a bit out of whack this morning. This was uncalled for…

  • Anonymous

    I just…a white guy as Ramses? It’s not like Egypt is in Africa or anything….

  • Bittersweet Fountain

    “Sigourney Weaver will be taking the role of Tuya, Ramses’s mother (and so presumably Moses’ adoptive mother)”

    I am not a Bible scholar (not even close), but in Exodus the woman who picks up Moses is referred to as Pharaoh’s daughter and is named Bithiah. Which isn’t to say that Pharaoh’s daughter couldn’t be Ramses mother, but it seems the movie isn’t going that route. I think in the Ten Commandments, Ramses and Moses were not portrayed as brothers but more like cousins. (It’s been a while since I watched the Ten Commandments.) So they may be going that way with this movie.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I’m an atheist, and I love The Ten Commandments. It’s a great movie. *shrug*

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, “Pharaoh’s daughter” does seem familiar to me, but I wouldn’t hold the Ten Commandments to a particularly high standard of historical biblical realism either, based on my limited knowledge derived from various children’s bibles and a good friend in cantorial school.

  • Aeryl

    OK, I just gotta know, WHAT PANEL IS THAT PICTURE FROM???

    Cuz Eliza Dushku and Sigourney Weaver in a room together is making my head explode.

  • Anonymous

    I think my answer would be that, like it or not, we don’t live in as secular a society as we’d like it to be, and “biblical historical fiction” is still a different beast to American audiences than “historical fiction.”

  • AverageDrafter

    My point being that interest in the Old Testament, New Testament, or even the New… NEW Testament – aka Book of Mormon, doesn’t preclude interest in the texts, doesn’t endorse the text, and doesn’t condone the violence perpetrated in the name of the text.

    I for one would love to see an all out disaster movie based on the Book of Revelations (not WASP washed Left Behind… I’m talking seven trumpets, Beast of the Sea/Earth,Four Horsemen, the Lion and the Lamb, all that good crazy ass stuff).

    I’d trust an Atheist or Agnostic director to do it, but not one who actually believes in that stuff for reals.

  • AnnaB

    Well, if you take out the parts with the burning bush and scouring of the ten commandments, there’s a lot of history there. A man rises up to fight slavery and he used natural phenomena (the plagues) to convince the pharaohs to set the slaves free. It’s history with a lot of tall tales in it.

  • odango atama

    At least in The Prince of Egypt the characters were of different skin colors because, let’s face it, Egypt is in the title.

    Honestly, when I saw this, I thought of Exodus starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie-Saint, but that’s just where my mind is.

  • Bittersweet Fountain

    Just double checked ( FTW), and I have no idea where the name “Bithiah” comes from, but several translations describe her as “Pharaoh’s daughter.” Which once again, isn’t saying that Pharaoh’s daughter isn’t necessarily Ramses’ mother, but I don’t remember Exodus being clear one way or the other.

    And I definitely concur the Ten Commandments isn’t high on the historically accurate list. I was just pointing out that it displays the relationship between Ramses and Moses a little bit differently than Prince of Egypt does. But I think Exodus is unclear on whether Ramses and Moses viewed each other as brothers, cousins, or whatever (probably because it’s ultimately unimportant to the story. There is actual very little focus on Moses’ time as a prince of Egypt).

    Either way, I’m looking forward to this movie!

  • Anonymous

    Yep, I love The Prince Of Egypt. Great movie with PoC characters. Could have had more PoC voice actors, but other than that it did an awesome job.

  • Anonymous

    Weeeeeell – and I see where you are going there – but there isn’t a lot to suggest that the mass enslavement of the Hebrews is a thing that historically happened. I also love the 10 Commandments (and I’m a Wiccan of all things) but the genre of Historical Fantasy (Mists of Avalon, etc.) might be a better fit.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    “I’d trust an Atheist or Agnostic director to do it, but not one who actually believes in that stuff for reals.”

    So a religious director would be incapable of divorcing themselves from their beliefs to make a secular movie?

  • Aeryl

    Goddess I want a Mists of Avalon movie SO BAD.

    The TNT one was OK, but I want a real big screen production.


  • AnnaB

    Eh, well, it makes for a bigger Man Frees People From Enslavement story.

  • LifeLessons

    Too dang white.

  • Anonymous


    That’s from The Ten Commandments, which is about 90% made up, and not from the Bible text at all, FYI.

    “Ramses” is also an extrapolation–the text doesn’t mention which Pharaoh at all.

  • Anonymous

    Er, shouldn’t the actors in the movie about the Middle East/North Africa look kind of…Middle Eastern/North African?

    Neither the ancient Egyptians not the biblical Hebrews were white.

  • Ross Van Loan

    It’s almost as if Hollywood has a storied tradition of engineering illusory presentations of highly tenuous representations of the beloved myths of famous people and places.

  • frodobatmanvader

    I found it very odd that John Turturro, especially, is playing an Egyptian. But then I did a little internet research and was like “Oh. So he’s NOT actually Jewish?”

    But, yeah, Hollywood seems to be regressing when it comes to diversity (or even *accuracy*) in casting.

  • Nat

    I think Fantasy is a bit… disrespectful to call it. It would imply that Christians and Jewish people who believe that this event is accurately written about in the bible is purely fantastical and yet as a Wiccan would you want someone to refer to the Goddess as some fantastical made up being?
    Mythology would be a bit more appropriate I think.
    /Full disclosure that I am agnostic who dabbles with both Episcopal and New Age beliefs

  • AverageDrafter

    Less capable, probably. It’s like the guys who did Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy film… They missed the mark largely by being to slavish to the notes Douglas Adams made for the film version.

    Religion has less to do with it than fandom. I think people do better work when they respect, but are not fanatic about the source material.

    I think a deeply religious person might shy away from some of the seriously hard-core elements of the story. Like….. Oh I don’t know – Left Behind.

  • Anonymous

    I can get behind that! Plus the sets would be gorgeous.

  • Anonymous

    So after trashing his own franchise with Prometheus, Ridley Scott now takes on… the Bible. Well, at least there’s not much damage to be done there anymore.
    Can’t wait to see who Russel Crowe will be playing.

  • Anonymous

    Even if he was, the ancient Hebrews would probably have looked more like Arabs than like present-day Ashkenazi Jews.

  • Sarah Dentan

    Pharoh’s daughter isn’t named in Exodus, but it looks like she shows up in Chronicles as Bitya or Batya (Bithiah could be an alternate spelling). She’s given more significance in the Talmud, where she’s considered a Righteous Convert to Judaism, and is sometimes credited with shaping Moses’ destiny.

  • odango atama

    This is what I always argue. The ebb and flow of history makes the past into something we have to imagine, and usually it’s more diverse than some people want to admit.

  • yunalala

    “(I’m looking at you, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Or I would be, if you had ever existed. Which you didn’t. It’s too bad, really, I feel like a live action adaptation of The Last Airbender is something fans would get really excited about.)”

    This statement is amazing

  • Anonymous

    is “Historical Fiction” better?

  • Anonymous

    In any case, it’s safe to say Pharaoh’s daughter looked zero like Sigourney Weaver. In this day and age, they should’ve got someone else…someone who looks like they came from Africa.

  • Anonymous

    We’ve been “brainwashed” by so much of what we have seen throughout the years on tv and film, til we think Brad Pitt looks like Shaka Zulu. Sounds funny, but give it a few years and they’ll have someone like him portraying someone like that. In short, we’ve been lied to. Ancient Egyptians are black and believe it or not, so are many ancient Hebrews. There’s a description by a Canaanite at the funeral of Joseph’s father, Jacob. Basically, this person is saying he can’t tell the difference between the Egyptians and the Hebrews, they look very similar. Think about it…Moses had to be able to pass in order to survive in the House of Pharaoh. He was probably a child who looked as if they could pass for an Egyptian. Much like how some blacks here, passed for white. And folks are confused as heck these days, because you sometimes get people saying they should atleast get someone from the Middle East or a “real Egyptian” like Omar Sharif type to play these types of roles. But we’re talking ancient Egypt, before the Arab conquest (sure some folks were mixed, but on the whole, they were Africans)…folks like Sharif are NOT indigenous, descendants of the ancients, they are NOT of the Pharaohs. I believe Sharif was Egyptian in the fact that he simply lived there, but he and his family are Lebanese. All this Sigourney Weaver/Joel Edgerton Egyptian stuff is a JOKE!!! These people, the ancient Egyptians lived at one time, it would be nice to see someone like an Idris Elba or a Colin Kaepernick step in and fill those roles. Tika Sumpter or Iman or any number of actresses as African queens. Egypt is African. All that Northern African/Middle Eastern classification is bs. It is only partially that way, even now. We do not get to see the true indigenous Egyptians on television, they mostly show people who are of Arab heritage, living in Egypt and calling themselves Egyptians. That’s why people think Egyptians are not “black”. Descendants of Pharaohs and the ancients are alive and well at over a whopping 45% of the population that we magically never see advertised. They are in natives like the Beja and the Afar peoples. Of course, Ethiopians and Somalis are the progenitors of the Egyptians. Many in ancient Ethiopia just believed Egypt was just a colony of Ethiopia and Sudan. Those countries gave birth to Egypt. I don’t know what is so wrong about letting “black” people portray ancient black people in Africa. And also people will try that mess about, well, the blacks are the wrong type (well, so are Anglo Saxons), they are West Africans…same thing. Just like in the USA, everyone started out in Virginia/13 colonies and they moved west to places like Texas and California. Same folks, they just moved. Ramses III has the “West African” DNA, but I think it’s the other way around, he came first, so I think West Africans have his DNA. Too many cover ups. Time to come clean.

  • Anonymous

    “Next, in Genesis chapter 50 verses 7-11, scripture will describes ALL the Hebrews as looking like the ancient Egyptians.

    After Jacob (who’s name was changed to Ysrayl – Israel) died in the Land of Egypt, all the Hebrews and Egyptians went down to the Land of Canaan to bury him (He asked his son to bury him in the Land of Canaan with his forefathers Genesis 49:29-30).

    Verses 7-8 state that all the elders of Pharaoh’s house and all the elders of the Land of Egypt along with all the Hebrews (except for their small children) went down.

    VERSE 9 says, “It was a very great company.”

    VERSE 11 says, that the Canaanite saw the funeral procession and said “THIS IS A GRIEVOUS MOURNING TO THE EGYPTIANS”.

    But remember this was a mixed multitude of Hebrews and Egyptians going to bury a HEBREW, and the Canaanite identified them both as Egyptians. WHY? Because the Canaanites saw a great company of black-skinned people who were all probably dressed according to the customs and fashions of Egypt, and they all looked liked native (black) Egyptians.”