The release of Hollywood’s next Biblical epic, “Exodus,” has raised questions about the film’s handling of religious themes and historical accuracy. On Monday, I was able to have a conversation with director Ridley Scott and lead actor Christian Bale to discuss some of these questions. Here they discuss some of the questions religious moviegoers will undoubtedly have about some of the film’s more controversial moments.
Q: Why did you use a child for the figure of God?
Ridley Scott: Not figure of God. “Malak” means messenger. So “Malak,” to begin with, is the messenger of God. If you’re going to represent God in many shapes and forms, which He will appear, the biggest form of all is probably nature. That’s his power, that’s his base, that’s his beauty, that’s his threat. And occasionally when you want to communicate with someone, it’s very easy with His power to chose a messenger. Or some more popular word might be “angel.” But I didn’t like the idea of an angel associated with wings. I wanted everything to be reality based….
If you’re watching very closely you notice that whenever [Moses and Malak] are witnessed from a distance–Joshua does a lot of sneaking up over rocks and looking to see what’s going on–he can’t see anything. [Joshua] just thinks his leader has lost his mind ’cause he can’t see anything. When you’re in close you can see who Moses is talking to. Of course, when you think of it horizontally or vertically, whichever is the best way, [Moses] also could be talking to his conscience. So Malak could also be his conscience.
Christian Bale: How would you have represented God, if you were in Ridley’s position? ‘Cause it is very easy to pick apart someone’s choice for a depiction of God, you know, but if you’re actually in Ridley’s shoes, it’s an immensely difficult thing. How on earth do you do that?
Q: Ridley, you have something in common with many film makers, which is that you yourself don’t identify as a believer…I wonder if you’d be willing to speak to the challenges and the interest of engaging in this subject matter from the perspective of standing outside of it.