Hollywood continues to dismiss the whitewashing in Exodus: Gods and Kings, which is a film starring Christian Bale as Moses that opens this Friday. The questionable casting rightfully earned an automatic boycott from some moviegoers. Bale, who hardly cares, danced around the issue at the film's New York premiere.
"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. I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up."
Where are all the people of color in lead roles? Dunno, said Bale. Addressing the problematic casting, he told The Hollywood Reporter (emphasis mine):
"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.'"
Christian Bale, shorter: "Cool, cool, cool. Diversity. Check back in a decade or two." Maybe by then, directors and producers will consider casting people of color to play people of color.
The most maddening part of Hollywood's cycle of exclusionary casting—which Chris Rock expertly addressed just last week—is that it tends to be met with apathy from those with executive power. Money is the typical scapegoat.
Until further notice, white actors will continue to play white people and all other ethnicities.
Image via 20th Century Fox