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Ridley Scott Is Not Sorry About 'Exodus' White Actors.. But Look At That 'Martian' Cast!

09/11/2015 08:43 EDT | Updated 09/11/2015 08:59 EDT

Ridley Scott has no regrets about using white actors for Biblical characters in his film "Exodus: Gods and Kings."

Speaking at a news conference at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Friday, he spoke on the diversity of the cast for his new film "The Martian" in contrast to his Biblical epic that starred Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses, respectively.

"I've got no regrets on anything with 'Exodus,'" The Guardian quoted him saying.

"I'm very proud of it but when they start saying, 'Well gee, shouldn't Moses have been black and shouldn't the wife be Ethiopian,' well I don't know, I wasn't there. And also, I would never have got it, it would have been limited."

Scott was criticized for casting actors including Bale, Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul as Middle Eastern characters when "Exodus" was released last year.

He told Variety, "I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such."

Writing for CNN, Yale University professor Joel Baden and Notre Dame professor Candida Moss criticized the comment as "thinly-veiled racism."

But The Guardian noted that "The Martian" has drawn praise for its gender- and culturally-diverse cast, which includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover and Michael Peña.

Asked to address the cast's diversity on Friday, Peña responded that he was the "first Mexican in space," according to a liveblog by Screen Daily.

Vulture called "The Martian" Scott's big comeback, after less-than-stellar reviews for his last three films, "Exodus," "The Counselor" and "Prometheus."

It, too, praised the film's "wonderfully diverse" cast.

"I'm happy that on a crew of six people, two are women," Chastain told writer Kyle Buchanan at a news conference Friday.

"That's actually better odds than the current NASA program."

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