Over a year has passed since we heard that Steven Spielberg was committing to direct Gods and Kings, which is described as a Braveheart-esque recounting of the Moses story (with a stripped-down form that emulates Saving Private Ryan). Today’s update reveals that the three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker has decided to pass and focus on developing stuff like Robopocalypse (in addition to turning the late Stanley Kubrick’s long-abandoned Napoleon biopic script into a TV mini-series).
Studio executives already have another high-caliber name in mind to direct Gods and Kings: Ang Lee, who’s fresh off winning his second Oscar for Life of Pi (read our interview with Lee about the 3D adaptation). However, there are some obstacles threatening to not only prevent Lee from boarding Gods and Kings, but which could also cause the Biblical epic to either collapse or remain stuck in the early stages of development.
Deadline is reporting that Lee’s “intrigued with the project,” but hasn’t formally met with WB heads about him directing Gods and Kings. The filmmaker has made it no secret that he prefers challenging himself by not repeating his previous work, so that accounts for him showing interest in the big-budget Moses retelling (not to mention, him circling the Cleopatra biopic earlier this year).
Lee is gearing up to direct the pilot for a new FX TV series called Tyrant (from the producers of Homeland), but it’s not clear whether or not that’s going to have an effect on him committing to either Gods and Kings or the new screen interpretation of Ancient Egypt’s last pharaoh in Cleopatra (with Angelina Jolie remaining lined up to star).
The other looming storm on the horizon (as far as Gods and Kings is concerned) is Exodus, a Moses project that Ridley Scott off-handedly announced (or, rather, mentioned) around the time that Prometheus reached theaters last year. It was just two weeks ago that Noomi Rapace confirmed Scott is actively developing a Prometheus sequel, but Deadline is now saying that the filmmaker is “looking to mobilize” on Exodus once he completes post-production on The Counselor.
It’s possible these two Moses projects may peacefully co-exist, seeing how Exodus sounds like a different, perhaps even complimentary, take on the life of Moses than Gods and Kings (judging by Scott’s previous comments):
“… What’s interesting to me about Moses isn’t the big stuff that everybody knows. It’s things like his relationship with Ramses [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.”
Personally, I’m rooting for Lee to direct Gods and Kings, rather than Scott moving ahead with Exodus. That’s in part because I’m a self-admitted fan of Lee’s oeuvre and his chameleon storytelling abilities, but also because we’ve already seen Scott perform the ancient world epic dance a couple times before (see: Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven). It would be more interesting to see him further explore the Prometheus side of the Alien-verse, so hopefully he prioritizes that project instead.
Which of these Moses flicks sounds more interesting to you: Ang Lee’s Gods and Kings or Ridley Scott’s Exodus? Would you prefer that Hollywood take on another Biblical figure’s life story altogether? Let us know in the comments!