Thousands of Spaniards in the depressed southern region of Andalusia are queueing up to play the role of slaves in film-maker Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic “Exodus”, hoping for a way out of unemployment.
In a region with unemployment at 35 percent, the prospect of work as an extra with a daily wage of 80 euros ($107) has sparked a rush in Almeria where casting is being held for the story of Moses and the Jewish exodus to the promised land.
“Half of Almeria and half of Spain has come,” said one of the casting organisers, Nerea Herrero.
People had come from as far as the northern Basque Country and Galicia in the northeast hoping their faces would be among the 3,000-4,000 extras that end up on the big screen, he said.
Some 10,000 people turned up at a casting call in the city of Almeria, and another 5,000 in the nearby town of Pechina, Herrero said.
“We did not expect so many people but we’re glad we had this good response because we need a lot of people,” he said.
On Friday, some 3,000 people showed up for the final casting, some arriving in the early hours for a good place in the queue.
“I got up at 6:00 am to come here but I had to wait two or three hours because there were so many people in the queue,” said 25-year-old unemployed farm worker Antonio Jose Pinteno.
Those chosen will play the parts of the many slaves in the movie.
So the casting organisers are looking for people with skin that appears to be of African or Arab ethnic origin, beards, and, above all, thin physiques.
“We are looking for very, very thin people, even if it is a bit over the top, because we need people who look like slaves and they were starving,” said Herrero.
Shooting is expected to start in mid-October.