• Joel Edgerton at Melbourne Film Festival (Source: SBS)
Actor Joel Edgerton's latest film 'Exodus' has been criticised as racist and a "whitewashing" of history, with calls for people to boycott its release.
By
Santilla Chingaipe

17 Aug 2014 - 2:14 PM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2014 - 3:30 PM

Australian actor Joel Edgerton has responded to the accusations of racism about the casting in the upcoming Ridley Scott film 'Exodus, saying he "empathises" with the concerns.

Edgerton stars in the biblical blockbuster which is scheduled for release later in the year and plays the lead character as Egyptian pharoah, Ramses the great.

The casting in the film has caused an uproar online with critics accusing the directors and producers of the film for 'whitewashing' African history.

Apart from Sydney-born Edgerton, the film also stars British-born Christian Bale as Moses, Aaron Paul plays Joshua and Sigourney Weaver takes on the role of Rhamses mother, Tuya.

Writer David Dennis says: "Not only are all the main characters white, but the servants, thieves and assassins are played by Africans."

"To make the main characters white and everyone else African is cinematic colonialism," he says.

Speaking to SBS at the closing night of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Edgerton was quick to express his opinion saying: "It's not my job to make those decisions."

"I got asked to do a job and it would have been very hard to say no to that job."

"But I do say that I am sensitive to it and I do, I do understand and empathise with that position," Edgerton says.

However, the internet seems to be taking the racist claims seriously, with a social media campaign #BoycottExodusMovie calling for people to boycott the film upon its release.

The film is scheduled to be released in December.