Neal McDonough says that sometimes the lines between what’s real and what’s make-believe on film and TV can get blurred and that’s not “okay” with him. McDonough, who is starring in the football-themed movie, Greater, released in theaters today, says that he won’t kiss a woman who isn’t his wife on screen according to a report by Christian Examiner. Though he often plays “bad” characters who do bad things, he won’t compromise his faith for his craft.
“Life is about honoring God and being the best human being you can be and giving praise to God in everything you do,” says McDonough. “Killing people on screen – that’s fake. That’s not real. When you’re in bed with another woman on screen – guess what? That’s real. I don’t like that kind of stuff. Especially now with kids, I don’t want to have my kids say, ‘Hey, Dad, what are you doing with that lady on screen?'”
Neal is a devout Catholic whose personal convictions have cost him a few choice roles over the years. In 2009, McDonough ruffled a few feathers on the set of ABC’s Desperate Housewives when he refused to kiss his on-screen wife Edie played by Nicolette Sheridan. His character was killed off that same year. Then, in 2010, Neal made bigger headlines when he was fired from his $1 million role for the TV series, Scoundrels, for refusing to film sex scenes with co-star Virginia Madsen. According to The Daily Mail, ABC producers were “furious” with McDonough as he knew about the on-screen sex scenes weeks before the filming began.
“You can either be the guy who kisses girls on screen, or make a career at people who kill people on screen,” says Neal. “There’s two rules I have for the screen: I won’t use the Lord’s name in vain and I won’t kiss another woman on screen.”
In his latest film, Greater, McDonough plays Marty Burlsworth, the older brother of former Arkansas Razorback Brandon Burlsworth who became an All-American offensive lineman. Though he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, he never got a chance to play with Peyton Manning due to a deadly car crash that occurred two weeks after. Marty was 16 years older than Brandon and so he was more of a father figure to the football player than a brother. The role was a difficult one to play for Neal.
“When I was playing Marty for those two months, it was very emotional,” McDonough said. “It was very hard for me, and hard on my wife and my five kids. When you dive into a character, you’ve got to jump into it and tell the truth. Playing Marty Burlsworth was not an easy thing. By the end of the movie, Marty realizes [his brother] is in a better place, because there is faith, there is God, there is more to life than just ourselves. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and am so proud of Greater.”
Despite his convictions, Neal McDonough was been seen in many TV series and movies including China Beach, Quantum Leap, Arrow, Captain America: The First Avenger, Band of Brothers and Minority Report.
“If at some point my career runs out as an actor of being bad guys and I can’t do anything else, then I’ll think of something else to do. But for now, I am really enjoying career and enjoying my family, and most importantly, my relationship with God. I hope I’m doing Him proud,” says Neal. “If I could do films about God every day of the week, that’s what I would do the rest of my life, but Hollywood doesn’t make enough of those movies for me to make a living. Hopefully, something like Greater will lift up Hollywood so that it will realize: You know what? We can make movies without explosions and killing people. That’s what I’m praying for.”
[Image via Hammond Entertainment]