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Egyptian government censors Hollywood’s ‘Exodus’

BANNED: Bale, left, Scott, centre, and Edgerton (PA)

EGYPT HAS ruled it will not let Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus: Gods And Kings go free on the country’s silver screens.

State authorities claimed the Hollywood blockbuster, which cost a reported £89m to produce, portrays a variety of “historical inaccuracies”.

The North African country’s censorship board took issue with Scott’s movie depicting Jewish slaves constructing the Pyramids and an earthquake causing the Red Sea to divide, instead of Moses channelling divine power through a miracle.

Interpreting the Bible’s book of Exodus, scripture suggests God came to Moses and chose him as a messenger to help deliver the Jews to liberation from the oppression of the Pharaohs.

The famous story tells of Moses hearing God and warning King Ramses about a series of plagues to engulf the Egyptian people. Despite his attempts, the King ignores the warning and suffers while watching horror and sorrow blight his people, as Moses had foreseen.

The monarch eventually orders his troops to hunt down Moses and the fleeing slaves. The prophet and his people escape across the Red Sea to wander the desert for 40 years while the Egyptian army is destroyed by God’s wrath in the crashing sea waves – which He parted for the Israelites to make their escape from tyranny.

Scott’s film adaption of the story has been met with mixed reviews. Cinema-goers have also been left unconvinced with the movie only making a reported $24.5m on its opening weekend.

Before the film’s release, The Voice looked at the issue of the movie’s controversial casting of white actors in leading roles when the historical accuracy would have called for stars of ethnic heritage closer to the region being given top billing.

British actor Christian Bale plays the hero role of Moses, while Australian performer Joel Edgerton is antagonist Ramses.

Scott has previously defended the so-called whitewash, and claimed that “had white actors not filled most of the key roles, it would never have got off the ground financially”.

He added: “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.”

It is not the first time Hollywood has attempted to tell the story. Charlton Heston played Moses in Cecil B DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments - a film which also did not care too much for accurate portrayal of how the historical people of the time may have appeared.

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