Christian Bale, Ridley Scott on Tackling 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

Oscar-winning actor, director describe talking on the controversial character Moses as the lead in new film.
7:33 | 12/02/14

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Transcript for Christian Bale, Ridley Scott on Tackling 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'
An Oscar winning actor, makes and a whole lot of family drama. Christian bale takes us inside "Exodus." One of the most epic stories of all time. And as you're about to see, one that makes for some pretty epic movie material, too. Here's ABC's Chris Connelly. Action! I came here to tell you that something's coming that I cannot control. Who are you talking to? God. Reporter: As played by 40-year-old Christian bale in director ridley Scott's "Exodus," Moses reshapes history as much as any mortal has. Do not call the man above! He was so much more human than I ever imagined. He had all of the sort of temptations, indulgences he had grown up. Follow me and you will be free. You know, absolutely seen as a freedom fighter. Terrorists in terms of the Egyptian empire. Reporter: Moses has been an inspare rational icon for liberation movements throughout history. And as a central figure in three of the world's great religions. Whether or not such a man walked these deserts, leading god's chosen people out of bondage and into freedom, the Moses of the old testament is daunting as he challenges an empire, as god and himself. What happened to Moses, if he arrived today? Drones would be sent out after him, right? Reporter: This movie captured that Moses, the enemy of the state, after he's dispatched into exile, where he falls in love and starts a family. What's the most important thing in your life? You are. We should concentrate our strength in the center. You should concentrate yours in fighting. Reporter: Moses begins the film all but blood brothers with Ramsey. Besting him on the battlefield until -- You know something's wrong. You always felt it. Reporter: The revelation that he is a hebrew transforms his life. Your parents never told you the truth. What truth? The year of your birth, there was a prophesy that our leader would be born to liberate us. That leader is you, Moses. Steve wrote this and what he is writing is a story of revolution. And that's a story that can resonate no matter what the time. I love creating universes or words. The baffling majesty of Egypt. I thought, that's a real challenge. Reporter: First challenge, getting a commitment from bale. An a-lister after "The dark knight." One day, I said to him, I want you to consider this idea of playing Moses. It was such a ridiculous idea. This gigantic silence, I think he muttered something. Like, some about instruct, like, different take on it or just sandals and the beard Moses? And he went, San ddals and the beard Moses. I went, wow. Get my head around that one. I didn't know anything about him except for that he was Charlton Heston. Behold his mighty hand. Reporter: "The ten commandments" was a four-hour epic with a confident Moses, emboldened by god's power. Things to come much worse. Reporter: Bale, a questioning and reluctant Moses, based in part of his extensive Readings in all three faiths. He wanted to try to get away from being god's messenger on Earth. To say I read the old testament would be inaccurate. I didn't have to. Christian read it three times. So, I used to hear it every day. What I didn't know and what we should be doing. Moses and god arguing nonstop. God is disappointed. Reporter: How those conversations are depicted, using an 11--year-old actor, might be Scott's boldest move. I cannot have rushing clouds and a voice coming from up there. I just don't buy that. And yet he must deal with some kind of messenger. I am the god. Reporter: As Egypt's self-proclaimed god, Ramsey gets a more sympathetic portrayal. I'm not saying no. I'm saying time. I have this feeling like those people in great positions of power also harbor a great well being. To do a man that is all bad also is less interesting. Ramseys adored his wife, loved his child. Reporter: Since the 20th century film's casting was announced, Scott has been castigated for hiring white actors to play the two lead Egyptians. In response, he noted the impossibility of financing a nine-figure epic would an internationally bankable star such as Ba and he points to his casting of a Syrian actor in 2005's "Kingdom of heaven. "As if to splash care seen on the embers, Rupert Murdoch weighed in. Moses film aid tacked for all-white cast, he said. Since when are Egyptians not white? The firestorm led the mogul to soften his stance and tell everyone to calm down. How have you guys dealt with the issue of your casting? That two caucasian men are playing the lead roles in a story about people from the middle east? You look at the existing mummy of ram sooseys and he has red hair. Certain pharoahs had green eyes and light skin. We had conversations, this is such an important story of revolution. I wouldn't bloody last in the December et fsert for 40 minutes, let alone 40 years. I would be one big blister. As would ridley. I very much liked what he said. Wouldn't Egypt be the melting pot of the middle east, Europe and Africa? I think any debate about that is healthy, you know. But please go see the film before you make judgment. Reporter: With an eye towards plausibility, Scott's crafted the plague. Still, it's the transformation of the red sea that most amazes. You constantly have the goal of just part, you can't do that. Now we know and we are particular with the brutal till of a tsunami and how fast it can drain. I figured it was logical. Reporter: Yet, for all, it's visual grandeur. The film rests on the shoulders of its Moses. Even if the oscar-winning bale never feels all that confident. I wish I had a technique. I just wing it every time. When I arrive on the set, I'm looking, I'm going, I'm Moses. All right. And I've got to go down there and convince everyone that it was worth building these sets, you know, for the performances that we're going to give. They watch me come here and do any job, how am I going to sell them on that? Going to run away with the glory. It's going to be fine. Reporter: I'm Chris Connelly for "Nightline" in Los Angeles. "Exodus" will be in theaters December 12th.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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