“Son of God,” is a spin-off movie based on the successful TV miniseries “The Bible.”
The producers faced an unexpected dilemma, which resulted in the scenes featuring the Devil being heavily censored.
What was their problem? They realized that Mohamen Mehdi Ouzaani, the actor who played Satan in the miniseries, bore a striking resemblance to President Obama!
Many conservative Christians were uncomfortable with the series anyway, and one of their leaders, Glenn Beck, pointed out a year ago the physical similarity between the character of Satan and Barack Obama.
Some of these Christians alleged that the film was making a political statement through its casting. The History Channel was placed in the difficult situation of having to defend itself, and the “Son of God” movie, by issuing a statement denying any link between Obama and Satan:
“History Channel has the highest respect for President Obama. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s ‘The Bible’ is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
It’s true that some people in America wouldn’t regard that claim as being so outrageous, but we’re not getting into those politics here.
Actually, the producers statement was somewhat more grovelling, as they went overboard to appease the critics. Roma Downey told the Hollywood Reporter:
“It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor. This is now a movie about Jesus, the Son of God, and the devil gets no more screen time.”
Downey probably feared that the furore over the similarity issue could seriously damage the box-office potential. She said,”Someone made a comment that the actor who played the devil vaguely resembled our president, and suddenly the media went nuts,” She added that for the movie “I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus.”
Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, were the executive producers of the original series, and released a statement at that time calling the controversy “utter nonsense.”
“The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our president.”
It’s interesting to speculate about whether there would have been the same controversy had President Obama closely resembled Jesus Christ.
After all, scholars now know that, considering the part of the world in which Jesus lived, his skin color would certainly have been dark, and he would have been unlikely to have had the appearance and piercing blue blue eyes of the actors Hollywood has traditionally selected for the role.
If nothing else, this controversy has certainly ensured some nice pre-publicity PR for “Son of God,” which opens Feb. 28 from 20th Century Fox.