Consensus was clear Wednesday night — big is best, with the self-confessed exception of Christian Bale‘s waistline.
Epic, humongous and gargantuan were all words floating along the red carpet when Egypt came to London’s Leicester Square for the world premiere of “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” The red carpet was dressed with the set’s colossal pillars, in true 21st century upcycling style. “I think they came from Ramses’ bathroom,” joked director Ridley Scott.
Production designer Arthur Max discussed the enormity of the production. “We had 15 weeks. It was half the time we did ‘Gladiator,'” joking in conclusion. “It was a walk in the park. In this kind of world of ancient Egypt, size does matter!”
Commenting on his Moses’ physique, Bale said: “The iconic visuals of Moses are that he’s very hairy and very skinny. I was the opposite,” he explained. “Unfortunately, I was coming from a film called ‘American Hustle,’ where I was shaped more like Santa Claus. I had the girth of about three men. I had my daughter completely shave my head, down to the scalp. Ridley must have thought, ‘Who have I cast as Moses?'”
“The fact that it’d be a big story always attracts me, and that would be a backdrop for a big character,” Scott said of taking on the Exodus story and of the story of Moses, a prominent figure in three major religions.
Bale agreed. “The character was so fascinating, so much more fascinating than I’d ever realized. Anyone who reads the Torah from beginning to end is in for a lot of surprises,” he said. Bale added he felt a lot of pressure in taking on the role of Moses, especially in the grand scheme of a Ridley Scott epic. “[Moses is] beloved by so many people — there’s a reason why his story has resonated in mankind’s history and why so many people feel so strongly about him.”
Bale also joked that his brother-turned-nemesis onscreen, Joel Edgerton, showed a real commitment to his character as the pharaoh Ramses. “He always wore gold, he had this magnificent gold skirt. He insisted on having gold on every inch of his skin. He actually had [costume designer] Janty Yates build him a solid gold thong that he wore underneath. That’s really an inspiration — he really gets into his role.”
Scott jested that this was the source of the brothers’ rivalry: “He loved his golden underpants, golden slippers, jockstrap — he just loved it. Moses was quite jealous. He was in homespun and sandals.”
When asked about his favorite plague during the Yahoo livestream interview, Edgerton gave credit to some 400 hard-working frogs. “The next day Ridley called and said we need the frogs back. The frog agent said, ‘They’re busy tomorrow, they’re doing a TV show in Manchester.’ They’re harder-working than most of us actors.”
“I just imagine those frogs up in Manchester, going, ‘I don’t know about this TV stuff because yesterday I was working for Ridley Scott,'” Edgerton joked.
Also in attendance were Maria Valverde, Golshifteh Farahani, Ben Kingsley and producer Peter Chernin. With a swift exodus from the red carpet, cast, crew and guests escaped to the Odeon cinema, ready for retelling of the Torah tale.