Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac on new film "The Promise," set in Armenian genocide

Christian Bale & Oscar Isaac

Actor Christian Bale has earned critical and commercial movie success with his gritty portrayals of a con-man in “American Hustle,” a drug addict in “The Fighter,” and Batman in the “Dark Knight” trilogy. Oscar Isaac is best known to “Star Wars” fans as resistance fighter Poe from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Alon Amir

The two award-winning actors now star in the epic wartime drama, “The Promise.” The film is set in Constantinople during the Armenian genocide just before the start of World War I. Bale portrays an American journalist documenting the atrocities and Isaac plays an Armenian desperate to save his family from being rounded up by the Turks.

They joined “CBS This Morning” to discuss why this film was so hard to get made and the importance of its story reaching the public. 

“The story hasn’t been told because the Turkish interests have suppressed it again and again and again,” Bale said. Both men admitted they were unfamiliar with the Armenian genocide prior to taking on their roles.

According to Bale, numerous people, including a former studio head, had tried to make it without success, citing the “enormous strategic value” of Turkey.

The film was directed and written by Terry George, who helmed another tale of human survival, “Hotel Rwanda.”

“Another line from the film that I think is really great is that ‘our revenge will be to survive,’” Isaac said.  

Despite the violence of the conflict, George purposely did not make the film particularly violent or graphic.  

Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale star in “The Promise” Jose Haro

“He was very adamant that he wanted this to be an educational tool. He wanted this to be shown in schools because so little of it is known, or at least in the West,” Isaac said.  

Bale said one of the most important and relevant topics today that is explored in the film is that “a free press is so essential to a functioning democracy.”   

A scene from “The Promise” Jose Haro

While the title of the “The Promise” refers to the love triangle at the center of the film, another promise has also been made.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds of the film will go to charity, which I think is unprecedented. I know I’ve never been a part of anything like that.” Isaac said.  

“The Promise” is in theaters Friday, April 21.