NEW YORK — The biblical film "Exodus: Gods and Kings" has come under fire for white actors being cast in the main roles as Egyptians.
But director Ridley Scott has a message for those trying to boycott the movie: "I say, 'Get a life.'"
Scott said he had to assemble the "best possible cast ... on a budget of this scale." The film cost an estimated $140 million.
Actor Christian Bale supported his director, saying working with him was "a true partnership."
Bale said he was surprised when Scott wanted to cast him as Moses.
"Then I did some research and just found it to be too fascinating to pass it up," he said.
The Oscar-winning actor understands the controversy over the film's casting choices, though he sees the business side of it.
"No doubt it would have been a melting pot between Europe and the Middle East and North Africa," Bale said.
But he praised Scott for doing what was needed to finance the movie.
"He's been incredibly honest in getting a large, big-budget film like this made," he said.
Bale was alluding to the fact that investors feel safer with big-name actors.
"I don't think fingers should be pointed, but we should all look at ourselves and say, 'Are we supporting wonderful actors in films by North African and Middle Eastern filmmakers and actors, because there are some fantastic actors out there," Bale said.
He said he feels audiences can help international actors who are lesser known in the Western world get cast in major films.
"If people start supporting those films more and more, then financiers in the market will follow," Bale said.
"The audience has to show financiers that they will be there, and (then) they could make a large budget film."
Bale said the time will come when another film about Moses will be cast with a North African or Middle Eastern actor.
"To me that would be a day of celebration. For the actors it would be wonderful. It would be a wonderful day for humanity, but also for films and for storytelling in general," he said.
Scott and Bale attended an "Exodus" premiere in Brooklyn on Sunday.