Christian Bale is hopeful that his latest film will lead to more awareness of the mass killing of Armenians during the final days of the Ottoman Empire.
The actor stars as a journalist in The Promise, which is set during the period Armenians say 1.5 million of their people were killed by the Ottomans, starting in April 1915 – a figure modern-day Turkey disputes.
Christian told the Radio Times he was not aware of the events before reading the screenplay.
“I am embarrassed to say – but I suspect that it’s the same for many people – that I had not heard of the Armenian genocide.
“It’s tragic that so many were killed and people don’t know. I hope in some way this film will change that,” he added.
The Batman star compared the events, which included forced deportation of Armenians, to today’s refugee crisis.
“We were seeing the so-called deportations, which were really death marches, on TV. It’s terribly sad to say that the film couldn’t be more relevant now with the refugee crisis.”
Christian added the denial of genocide by Turkey was “a bit like climate change argument… the facts don’t support the deniers and yet they refuse to accept it”.
The dispute over whether the deaths caused by the Ottomans represented genocide centres on the degree to which the killings were orchestrated.
According to the UN, genocide involves acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”.
Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are among the countries which recognise the conflict as genocide.
This week’s Radio Times is out now.