(Photo: Reuters / Lucas Jackson)
Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale is set to become the latest Hollywood A-lister to take on a biblical epic after reports state that he is being lined up to play Moses in director Ridley Scott's upcoming movie.
The movie, titled "Exodus," after the Old Testament book of the same name, chronicles the story of Moses and the Israelites and their fight for freedom against the Egyptians. The film is being produced by 20th Century Fox and is currently being rewritten by "American Gangster" screenwriter Steve Zaillian. Deadline noted that Bale is currently in "early talks" for the project and is the current favorite to take on the role.
"What's interesting to me about Moses isn't the big stuff that everybody knows. It's things like his relationship with Ramesses [II, the pharaoh]. I honestly wasn't paying attention in school when I was told the story of Moses. Some of the details of his life are extraordinary," Scott has said of his vision behind the movie.
If the deal goes through, Bale will join a number of top Hollywood actors who are dipping their toes in movies based on the Bible. Russell Crowe has already been confirmed to portray Noah in Darren Aronofsky's movie based on Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Brad Pitt is also in talks to play Pontius Pilate in a movie by the same name that focuses on the Roman leader who sentences Christ to death, while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is tipped to play Goliath opposite Taylor Lautner as David in a separate project.
Another major biblical picture set to be produced in the coming few years is a remake of the 1959 classic "Ben Hur," but an actor has not yet been chosen to revive Charlton Heston's iconic role as yet.
Steven Spielberg until recently was lined up to direct another Moses movie, called "Gods and Kings," but he is likely to be replaced by "Life of Pi" Oscar-winning director Ang Lee.
Christian Bale is most famous for portraying Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy, enjoying unparalleled critical acclaim and box office success in the comic-book genre.
The actor, who won the 2011 Best Supporting Actor Oscar award for his movie "The Fighter," has said that he does not follow one specific religion, but goes to church sometimes and has praised Jesus' message.
"I always pictured Jesus as Neil Diamond when I was younger. My upbringing was not a religious one, but an inquisitive one. My father was best friends with the bishop and fascinated by religion. I would come back from church, and my dad would put on Neil Diamond. So, I would always picture Neil Diamond with a big white beard, standing in a tunic and preaching to masses of people… I do go to church on occasion, but I don't adhere to any particular religion. His [Jesus'] basic message of encompassing all people was a great one," Bale says in the biography "Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman."