When I first saw the trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings it looked weird. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I'm not sure if it's the chemistry between the actors, seeing Sigorney Weaver in Egyptian garb... I felt it was just ... too much.
Exodus: Gods and Kings has brought up a great deal of issues to date. "Whitewashing" has become a common phrase with this film since both lead actors (Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as Rhamses) are Caucasian. This is similar to the controversy that erupted with M. Night Shyamalan's version of Avatar: The last Airbender. Unfortuntately the film was a disaster in the box office... Not because of the casting, but that he squeezed every ounce of comedy and warmth that the original cartoon series had in spades!
I do agree with the argument it's all about the quality of the actors. If Idris Elba did a great job in Thor as a Norse God (and definitely would be a great James Bond) then why can't Christian Bale play Moses? It's simple why Ridley Scott cast Christian Bale. He's famous, bankable, talented, and the investors will finance the film. That's it. Period. It's all math.
The problem is that he cast supporting actors who although great, have highlighted the disparity. Zoe Saldana, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Arnold Vosloo.. bloody hell.. there are numerous actors who are famous, talented, and speak English fluently that would have made this film believable.
Oddly enough... would the world be in uproar if Peter Jackson cast black, Hispanic, and Asian actors as elves and hobbits in Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit?
Yes they would.
Are some people in uproar about Idris Elba being considered for James Bond?
Yes they are.
On the up side? Annie comes out soon.. and guess what? That iconic role will be played by a talented black actress Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Things will change, for now I'll reserve judgement, but I must admit I'm more excited to see the Hobbit.