Christian Bale almost missed out on his role in the film as he was considered overweight. This was because Bale was still working off the weight he had gained for his role in American Hustle (2013). Bale however was able to lose the weight and reach the physique required for this film.
Darren Aronofsky originally wanted Christian Bale to play the title role in Noah (2014) but Bale had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. The role ultimately went to Russell Crowe, a frequent Ridley Scott collaborator. Bale was later cast as Moses, another biblical figure, in this Scott-helmed feature.
To prepare for his role as Moses, Christian Bale quickly surpassed Sunday school basics and delved into scripture and literary works. He read the first five books of the Bible, the Quran, as well as Louis Ginzberg's classic, "Legends of the Jews" and Jonathan Kirsch's "Moses, A Life."
When Ramses stands by the bed of his sleeping son he speaks the words 'You sleep so well, because you know you're loved'. The same sentence emperor Commodus uses speaking to his sleeping nephew, in the well known movie 'Gladiator', which was also directed by Ridley Scott.
The film was originally called simply "Exodus", but it later received the subtitle "Gods and Kings" because 20th Century Fox could not procure the rights for "Exodus" alone from MGM, who owns the rights through the unrelated film Exodus (1960).
Egypt said it banned the film because the Hollywood blockbuster distorts Egypt's history and presents a racist image of Jews. The Culture Ministry explained its decision for the first time in a statement issued a few days after the ban was announced. It said the film put forth a reading of Egypt's history that is at odds with the story of Moses told by the world's monotheistic religions. Egypt is a conservative country with a Muslim majority and a sizeable Christian minority. Censors objected to the intentional gross historical fallacies that offend Egypt and its pharaonic ancient history in yet another attempt to Judaize Egyptian civilization, which confirms the international Zionist fingerprints all over the film, the statement said. The ministry said the movie inaccurately depicts ancient Egyptians as savages who kill and hang Jews, arguing that hanging did not exist in ancient Egypt. It also said the film presents a "racist" depiction of Jews as a people who mounted an armed rebellion. The ministry said religious scriptures present Jews as weak and oppressed. The statement also objected to the depiction of God as a child, which also drew criticism in the West. The ministry said it had convened two committees -- one of censors and one of archaeologists -- to review the film. The committee of archaeologists agreed with the decision to ban the film because it showed "a false and wrong mental image of Egypt's history," the ministry said.
Hanging as a means of execution was non-existent in ancient Egypt where drowning, beheading and crucifixion were common. There is no historic record of any circumstance that could produce explosions as depicted in the Hebrew arson scene.
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Ridley Scott called religion "the biggest source of evil", explaining, "Everyone is tearing each other apart in the name of their personal god. And the irony is, by definition, they're probably worshiping the same god". In another interview, Scott claimed that being an agnostic was a good quality for directing a Biblical story "because I've got to convince myself the story works."
The casting of European actors may not be as historically inaccurate as some have claimed. Northern Africa is separated from the rest of the continent by the Sahara Desert. As a result, those nations have more in common culturally with the Middle East and Europe than with Africa. One early race of Pharaohs was the Hyksos who, like the Jews, were a Semitic people. The Ptolemaic line of Pharoahs, which included Cleopatra, were of Macedonian descent. Both regions have inhabitants noted for their lightness of skin.
According to some interpretations of the Bible, Moses was over 80 years old when the Exodus occurred (he was 40 when he left Egypt and roamed Midia for 40 years before returning to Egypt). Since he was a poor speaker, he asked God excuse him from the quest but God told him to use his brother, Aaron as his speaker instead. There is no actual archaeological evidence for the existence of Moses, however.
Despite the main characters being of African and/or Jewish descent, white actors were cast as the main characters, while minor role such as slaves and thieves were cast as black people. Furthermore, Ridley Scott claimed the movie would not be financially viable without white actors. This has lead to discussions of whitewashing and structural racism in Hollywood.
The background score-music during the scene where Moses confronts Ramses about the last 'plague' : the deaths of the children, is a direct quote of Elmer Bernstien's music from the Cecil B. DeMille version.