The issue of casting white actors to play North African historical figures in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings has caused a very much justified examination of the motivation behind the legendary director's decisions. But Christian Bale is the one to finally speak some sense.
While Scott's irritable and vernacularly insensitive responses to criticism have only served to fuel the fire of controversy, the notoriously short-fused Bale has offered a more insightful look at the problem of race in cinema.
The 42-year-old actor spoke out to Hollywood Reporter to explain that the problem of funding issues is as much in our hands as cinema goers as it is in Scott's as a director. Bale, who plays Moses in [Exodus: Gods and Kings](movie:44617) explained:
It would absolutely be a wonderful day of celebration if, within a few decades, we have another Moses and he's a North African or Middle Eastern actor — what a wonderful thing. Ridley [Scott] is absolutely honest and blunt to a fault, and I think that people, rather than pointing fingers, should ask themselves, are they being supportive of North African and Middle Eastern filmmakers and actors? ... The change will come from independent filmmaking, but audiences have to be there. Because once that happens, financiers of bigger and bigger budget films will say, 'We can actually do business here'
And Christian Bale has a very valid point. If, as an audience, we are serious about seeking change in Hollywood, the only way to bring about advancement is to support the actors working in international cinema right now.
If these actors and directors can continue to make movies and gain critical acclaim, along with increased public recognition, the chance of major studios opening the door to fund them is much higher.
It might not be right that international actors are not considered "the best possible cast" for big budget movies, but unless their profile is raised, change is unlikely.
Support your local independent cinema!