"I laughed when [Ridley] first told me about it," Bale said. "I said, 'Moses? Like, with the hair and the sandals and the sand? Like Moses Moses?' And he said, 'Yep.' 'Okay, alright.' That seemed like a ridiculous challenge, and I love ridiculous challenges."
For an actor, there's no bigger challenge than portraying a biblical character, especially when you didn't grow up in Sunday School.
"I learned about Moses from Charlton Heston," Bale said, referencing The Ten Commandments. "That was my notion of Moses, and I was stunned when I started looking into the Torah and reading it."
While Exodus covers the same biblical story as Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 classic, there are some major differences. One big change is that Ridley cast Isaac Andrews, an 11-year-old British schoolboy, to depict God. Another is that Bale traded in Heston's scruffy beard for a clean shave.
One similarity between the two films is the seeming lack of diversity in the casts. With Bale, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley and John Tuturro as the film's stars, Exodus has faced criticism for hiring so many actors of European decent for a film that is set in Egypt. Bale argued in Ridley's favor.
"Ridley's point, which I think is a good one, is what does an Egyptian look like?" said Bale. "Especially at that time when this was the empire, so it would be a crossroads of Europe and the Middle East and Africa, and he cast accordingly. I don't know the fact that I was born in Wales and suffer with this skin that can't deal with the sun should dictate that Ridley should say, 'In that case, he's not the right man to play the role.' I did the best that I can. I'm certainly not going to pass it up. It's a hell of a role."
Watch the video to see how the filmmakers made the 10 plagues come to life.