Australian actor Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby) is currently in talks to play the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses in Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic Exodus. Edgerton would join Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises, American Hustle), who is already set to play Moses. Scott’s film will portray the Biblical narrative of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery.
A previous version of the script had been penned by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, but when Moneyball scribe Steven Zaillian joined the project things began to fall into place.
Edgerton played a supporting role in the critically acclaimed Animal Kingdom, but his breakout role came in the 2011 MMA drama Warrior in which he played physics teacher-turned-fighter Brendan Conlon. Since then he has been in high demand starring in the Oscar nominated Zero Dark Thirty and commercial blockbuster The Great Gatsby.
Scott”s Exodus is not the only Old Testament-based film in the works. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is slated for a March 28, 2014 release. The film, which stars Russel Crowe as the title character, is based on the Biblical account of the man who receives instruction from God to build an ark in order to escape the coming flood sent as judgment for the wickedness of man. The flood destroys every living thing on the earth except for Noah and his family, as well as the animals aboard the ark. At the end of the flood God promises never again to destroy all life on earth by a flood and creates a rainbow as a sign of this promise. Rumor has it that Aronofsky’s film stays fairly true to the Biblical account despite the appearance of six-armed angels, which are not seen in the book of Genesis.
Noah also features Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Logan Lerman in supporting roles. While Christian Bale was approached for the role of Noah, he declined due to a scheduling conflict, and as we now know, later accepted the role of a different Old Testament leader.
Exodus is coming nearly 60 years after the classic 1956 film The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. The film boasts an impressive running time of almost four hours and spans the entire life of Moses. As of yet there is no word on the scope of the Ridley Scott version. While Exodus will undoubtedly document Israel’s escape from Egypt, Scott could end the film at this point or continue the story as they journey into the wilderness. The film might focus on the event of the Exodus, or it could serve as more of a biopic of Moses. Either way it is sure to be a fascinating addition to the Biblical epic genre.
Exodus, which will be produced by Scott and Peter Chernin, is currently in pre-production and is due out in December 2014.