Religious movies tend to generate controversy. It's almost as if it's in their nature. Just look at what happened with Darren Aronofsky's Noah earlier this year. Well, with the release of Ridley Scott's [Exodus: Gods and Kings](movie:44617) approaching fast, lead actor Christian Bale recently did an interview that offended a good amount of Christian writers.
As recently reported by The Daily Mail, Christian Bale made some unflattering comments last month about his character, the iconic Moses, at a Los Angeles press conference. Speaking about how complex his character was, Bale said:
I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life... He was a very troubled, tumultuous man and mercurial. But the biggest surprise was the nature of God. He was equally very mercurial.
Once this comment was made public, several Christian writers took to the internet to give their rebuttals to Bale's statements. Brian Godawa, writer of the Chronicles of the Nephilim book series, wrote the following on his blog:
Look, Bible heroes are NOT perfect sinless creatures. Only Jesus fits that bill. Yes, Moses murdered a man, and he had a character arc that went from being adopted and raised as a pagan Egyptian to a conversion to his troubled and tumultuous faith. He had difficulty trusting Yahweh. He didn’t want to be God’s spokesman because he stuttered. And he even had arguments with God.
But Schizophrenic? Barbaric? Really?
Chris Stone, founder of the faith-based online forum: Faith Driven Consumer, also stated his disapproval of Bale's comments. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stone argues that there is no biblical evidence to support Moses having schizophrenia.
“There’s nothing in the biblical history that supports that...It’s an indication that there will be a tremendous disconnect between Bale’s interpretation and the expectations of the market.”
Commenters of The Hollywood Reporter also disapprove of Bale's statements. Here are a few samples:
These Hollywood clowns just don't get. You insult the Bible, you insult people in the Bible...and then you beg Christians to go see your film??
Yeah, I don't think so. Thank you Bale for making it so easy to boycott this film.
This is what Hollywood does. They grab material that's been made dozens of times before. Things we've already seen. They twist it and distort it till its completely unrecognizably s*** and then shove it down our throats. Thanks for ruining another great story.
Free speech, yes. But man -- none of these actors would ever say these kinds of thing about pillars of other faiths.
One will wonder how Bale will respond to these counter-arguments. Hollywood stars have been known for apologizing for what they say. Offending people is something that actors seem to be terrified of.
The good news about all of this is that the controversy is likely to help Exodus at the box office. Opening on the same day as the new Hobbit movie is no easy task, but if controversy can help Noah, it can certainly help Exodus. We'll have to wait until December 12 to find out.