Ridley Scott Says EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS Is His Biggest Film Yet; Talks Using VFX to Create a Massive Scope

by     Posted 166 days ago

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Yesterday, the first trailer debuted for director Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings.  The film certainly looks to be massive in scale with striking visuals, but the overall response was a bit mixed.  Some loved what they saw, others were more dubious.  Regardless, the pic is shaping up to be one of the biggest of the year, with Christian Bale taking on the role of Moses and Joel Edgerton playing Ramses in Scott’s iteration of the well-worn story.  The trailer showed brief glimpses of the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, once again teasing the ginormous scale of the pic, and Scott recently took the time to discuss the film in more detail.

Scott admits that this is very likely the largest budgeted film he’s ever worked on, going on to talk about his approach to the pic’s visual palate and extensive visual effects.  Read on after the jump.

exodus-gods-and-kings-movie-imageSpeaking with Empire, Scott addressed the scale of Exodus: Gods and Kings:

“Well, in terms of the metaphorical aspects, yes [this is the biggest project I’ve done]. Even budgetarily it’s probably the biggest, yeah. But I didn’t approach it as my biggest. I never do that. I always approach it from the point of view of the characters, of the story. I never realised Gladiator was going to be quite as large in terms of its scope and yet it was a very small, personal story. A revenge. A simple revenge into which we had jigsawed some characters.”

One of the more curious aspects of the trailer was the visual aesthetic that Scott settled on.  The filmmaker spoke about making the switch to digital filmmaking, and how he’s come to embrace it:

“I went digital really late in the day, maybe even later than Steven [Spielberg]. I was one of the diehards who said they couldn’t possibly go to push-button technology without really realising that it actually works like a son of a bitch. It gets you what you want and you can control it. Outside of digital the whole thing depends on so many other factors. How many prints have been run off it and so forth. On this, when you press a button it’s the same.”

exodus-gods-and-kings-joel-edgerton-christian-baleScott went on to discuss the specific visuals of Exodus, though he neglected to touch on the abundance of eyeliner:

“I like the clarity of this world. It’s a world we’ve done a few times in the past few years and the early Hollywood films did a good job, but I think we are in a position to do a better job now, because we don’t have to build so much. We can go immense with relative ease and confidence. This is not going to look like a matte painting.”

We saw teases of some of the plagues in the trailer, and Scott revealed that there’s much more to be unveiled in the full film:

“I’ve held back a bit – wait till you see the movie. You must never oversell yourself. You’ve got to wait till you’re three weeks out, then you go for it. This is a big movie. 1300 effects shots is a lot. Not compared to something like Star Wars, sure, but we’re not ‘effecty’ in that sense of the word. One of the things that has come off really well is the reality of the characters. You wouldn’t call it an effects film even though in many ways a lot of what was needed is extraordinary. There were things I couldn’t build. But in today’s world the effects are so good that it looks real, effectively.”

exodus-gods-and-kings-christian-baleThough the film is visual effects-heavy, Scott had a very strong hand in each aspect of the pic (as he does with all of his films):

“You’ve just got to have a vision of what you want to do. After that I really get into digitally drawing until I get the picture right. Literally physically drawing digital animation until it becomes real. The hardest thing to do on this movie for me would be the crocodiles. They have to be absolutely real. That sequence is one of the first things up in the movie and I’ll be flat, I’ll be dead in the water, if they don’t come off.”

Finally, the director addressed the film’s title change from Exodus to Exodus: Gods and Kings:

“Honestly, to be truthful, we’d have liked to just call this Exodus, but that was owned and nobody would give it up, so I had to use Gods And Kings. But I don’t mind Gods And Kings, because in effect that’s what we’re dealing with: a society who at one stage believed in the idea of over a thousand gods, which is of course hard to believe.”

While I’m still not sure if this period epic will live up to something like Scott’s director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven, I’m definitely intrigued by what we saw and the trailer and what Scott had to say here (though I’d very much like to hear his thoughts on the pic’s casting).  At the very least, it sounds like this thing is going to be absolutely massive.  The film opens on December 5th.

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  • https://twitter.com/soundomyWalther Carlos Díaz

    Kingdom of Heaven Director’s Cut is truly genious! One of the best epics ever made.

    • Aquartertoseven

      How does it differ from the normal cut?

      • Person

        The characters are more fleshed out and the story has more of an impact. But it’s still overlong and meanders for an hour or so in the middle, not to mention the characters are kept at more than an arm’s length. It’s good, but it’s no masterpiece – just like Gladiator.

      • MITIOR

        I think Gladiator is a masterpiece.

      • https://twitter.com/soundomyWalther Carlos Díaz

        I disagree. It is masterpiece. It is Scott’s masterpiece. Nearly perfect in almost all aspects. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves great stories.

      • Bo

        Finally someone who recognizes how great a film Kingdom of Heaven really is. From the irony of the title to the historical depiction of the madness of the Middle East and for how long its been going on. Just a great, great important piece of work! I understand many do not like this film, but do not understand why they don’t. Oh well…we each see things thru our own experience and perspectives and I suppose that’s what makes the world what it is. Still, good to see Carlos here liking the film as much as I did.

      • Strong Enough

        finally? everywhere i go people praise that film

      • Bo

        That’s good to hear. Everywhere I go I’m the lone wolf on this film. I checked it out…39% on Rotten Tomato…63 on Metacritic. So many of the critics didn’t like it. $130 million budget and only managed $47 mil domestic…not good. Although it did pull in $164 mil foreign so that helped. No matter to me. I liked it and still do and am not one to be influenced by what critics or audiences like or dislike. It is interesting to see so many on today’s comments here like and appreciate the film also. That’s why my ‘finally’ response.

      • https://twitter.com/soundomyWalther Carlos Díaz

        The general hate is due to the fact that everyone watched the theatrical cut but not many people actually watched the infinitely improved director’s cut.
        Sometimes I say “I love Kingdom of Heaven” and people, meaning the theatrical and only version they saw is like “really?”

      • Strong Enough

        no they like the DIRECTORS CUT. not the theatrical version. RT and everywhere else they scored the one in theaters

      • Person

        I haven’t seen it in several years, may be time to re-watch it as a warm-up for Exodus.

      • https://twitter.com/soundomyWalther Carlos Díaz

        Sure!

      • Person

        I haven’t seen it in several years, may be time to re-watch it as a warm-up for Exodus.

      • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

        The key improvement is that the main character is actually made sympathetic and interesting in the director’s cut, where he is just a blank slate in the theatrical version so it can speed to the story. I agree that not ALL of the new parts are welcome, but the heart of the film was completely missing in the theatrical cut and it is restored in the director’s cut.

      • agent777

        They also explain how he was able to build all those seige engines, as he had prior experience.

      • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

        The key improvement is that the main character is actually made sympathetic and interesting in the director’s cut, where he is just a blank slate in the theatrical version so it can speed to the story. I agree that not ALL of the new parts are welcome, but the heart of the film was completely missing in the theatrical cut and it is restored in the director’s cut.

      • MoviesAreForever88

        HUGE improvement all the way around. Pacing is better, a LOT more character development (as well as introducing vital characters that weren’t even seen in the theatrical), etc. Its a masterful work of art, much like Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator, before it.

      • MoviesAreForever88

        HUGE improvement all the way around. Pacing is better, a LOT more character development (as well as introducing vital characters that weren’t even seen in the theatrical), etc. Its a masterful work of art, much like Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator, before it.

      • randommale7

        With the director’s cut Kingdom of Heaven goes from a muddled war movie into a film about that meditates on difference between religion and faith, also Eva Green’s performance becomes amazing with a more fleshed out character.

    • agent777

      Agreed. It’s a shame he doesn’t do all of his historical films the same way.

      It’s a wonderfully haunting film that captures a time period that we are far to ignorant about today.

    • agent777

      Agreed. It’s a shame he doesn’t do all of his historical films the same way.

      It’s a wonderfully haunting film that captures a time period that we are far to ignorant about today.

    • Django9000

      The deleted & alternate scenes from Prometheus make for a far more coherent & compelling read on the relationship of both Noomi & her douchebag boyfriend , and David & Weyland as well.

      I highly recommend watching them on the blu-ray. It makes for their relationships to become truly incisive commentary on humanity & its weaknesses as a species.

  • Person

    Or they added the subtitle to Exodus so they can franchise this later on. Not super-familiar with the Bible but I’m almost certain there’s more to it after this film.

  • Ted

    BOMB!

  • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

    I really don’t understand what Adam means when he says: “One of the more curious aspects of the trailer was the visual aesthetic that Scott settled on.”
    I mean, for me it looked like a (bigger than ever) Ridley Scott movie. Can someone explain?

  • Pierre

    “though he neglected to touch on the abundance of eyeliner”
    I don’t understand what you beef is with the eyeliner, its ancient Egypt, of course they’re going to wear eyeliner….

    • MITIOR

      I guess he is not familiar with Egyptian art, vases, hieroglyphs etc.

  • agent777

    “a society who at one stage believed in the idea of over a thousand gods, which is of course hard to believe.” Hard to believe if you never fucking studied anything about the past or anthropology. Just look at Hinduism, that is polytheist and it’s a religion that exist now. 14% of the world population believes in thousands of gods…

  • agent777

    “a society who at one stage believed in the idea of over a thousand gods, which is of course hard to believe.” Hard to believe if you never fucking studied anything about the past or anthropology. Just look at Hinduism, that is polytheist and it’s a religion that exist now. 14% of the world population believes in thousands of gods…

  • osarumen erhunmwunsee

    i hope they will stay true to the bible, because when they made noah movie, it was garbage in my opinion.

    • Glorious_Cause

      Noah was bad.

      • osarumen erhunmwunsee

        they made Noah kinda evil. lol

  • JP

    If Metallica’s song “Creeping Death” isn’t played at some point during this movie, I’m gonna be very disappointed.

  • Strong Enough

    they keep giving ridley these huge budgets lmao

  • spongefist

    The Ancient Egyptians didn’t believe in thousands of Gods Ridley, just one. They were monotheistic.

    All of the so called Gods, were simply representations of life principles with numerous deeper meanings about life and the cosmos the higher up/deeper in the spiritual order you went.

    The crocodile represented time for example, it wasn’t a God of time.

    just sayin.

    • Bifash

      YES>

    • Bifash

      If the director himself is this ignorant, what hope can
      the movie have?? I’m going to treat this film like Robin Hood with Kevin
      Costner. Just a big fantasy adventure. Nothing more. ( I can only hope
      it’s as entertaining as Price of Thieves ). As far as historical accuracy in this Exodus movie? Not even close.

    • Bifash

      If the director himself is this ignorant, what hope can
      the movie have?? I’m going to treat this film like Robin Hood with Kevin
      Costner. Just a big fantasy adventure. Nothing more. ( I can only hope
      it’s as entertaining as Price of Thieves ). As far as historical accuracy in this Exodus movie? Not even close.

  • Tony Wesh

    I love how it looks like it is shot on film and yet it was shot digitally. But I wish he would have used an IMAX camera,they shoot perfectly in desert and jungle settings

  • Tony Wesh

    I love how it looks like it is shot on film and yet it was shot digitally. But I wish he would have used an IMAX camera,they shoot perfectly in desert and jungle settings

  • matt d.

    Overall response has been very positive except all the arguments of whether white people should have roles or not. Your response was dubious Adam. This guy Adam is biased as shit, mixed response. hates white actors in the roles even though its Christian fucking Bale, too much eye-liner. Stop hating and show some respect to a master filmmaker that you could never be.

    • milo

      Where is this overall positive response? I don’t really know what to make of it, the spectacle looks impressive but the scenes with the actors have me a bit skeptical. And yes, I just used spectacle and skeptical in the same sentence.

  • matt d.

    Overall response has been very positive except all the arguments of whether white people should have roles or not. Your response was dubious Adam. This guy Adam is biased as shit, mixed response. hates white actors in the roles even though its Christian fucking Bale, too much eye-liner. Stop hating and show some respect to a master filmmaker that you could never be.

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