At this point, only the most historical context ignorant Logic Bro could fail to understand the implications of whitewashing and blackface, which is why it’s weird to see trailers for Exodus: Gods And Kings, a story about Biblical Egypt, with two of the whitest actors ever playing the leads. Actually, that’s only half the story – white actors in the leads, and all the black people seem to be playing servants and assassins, a point made more eloquently by Uproxx contributor David D.
“…to make the main characters white and everyone else African is cinematic colonialism. It’s creating a piece of historical ‘art’ that carries on oppressive imagery that’s helped shackle entire countries and corners of the world.”
But don’t worry, Exodus: Gods And Kings director Ridley Scott is sensitive to the concerns, responding to the casting criticism in a recent Variety blowjob (which begins with anecdotes from Christian Bale saying Scott “probably springs out of bed 10 times faster than I do” and Joel Edgerton comparing Scott to a shark):
Much of the outcry online stemmed from his decision to cast white American, European and Australian actors in most of the key roles, no matter that the same could be said of “The Passion of the Christ,” “Noah,” “The Ten Commandments” and virtually any other big-budget Bible movies.
That’s just Variety’s preface to Scott’s response, by the way. Whoa, settle down there, Mr. Gotcha Journalist. At least let the guy speak before you start drilling him with these hard-hitting questions!
“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,” Scott says. “I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”
Yikes. You know, I can think of a few reasonable and thoughtful ways to respond to the thorny question of white washing (and Spanish people being racist might be a fair point), but none of them include the phrase “Mohammad so-and-so,” or “you know I never even considered it.”
“Cast a non-white actor? Pff, nah, bro, I hadn’t even thought about it.”
No sh*t, dude, that’s sort of the problem. And keep in mind, that quote came from industry mouthpiece Variety, who not only didn’t challenge it, but did rhetorical back flips trying to make it seem more okay.
In any case, I look forward to checking out the filmography of Mohammad So-And-So, Hollywood’s most talented and only non-white.