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Obama-Satan lookalike cut from film version of hit mini-series ‘The Bible’

By Ben Child, The Guardian
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7:04 EDT
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The History Channel's "Satan" and President Barack Obama
 
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‘This is now a movie about Jesus, the son of God, and the devil gets no more screen time,’ says producer of The Son Of God

Controversial scenes in which an actor with a startling resemblance to US President Barack Obama portrayed Satan have been cut from the big-screen version of a hit mini-series about Jesus’ life.

Producers of Son of God, which is based on the hugely popular 2013 TV mini-series The Bible, said they had removed the offending episodes. The veteran Moroccan actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, who viewers and commentators said closely resembled Obama, will not appear in the film .

“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,” producer Roma Downey revealed during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. She said the controversy over Satan’s appearance had overshadowed the TV series’ intended religious message: “Someone made a comment that the actor who played the devil vaguely resembled our president, and suddenly the media went nuts,” Downey said. “The next day, when I was sure everyone would only be talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead.

She added: “For our movie, Son of God, I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus. I want his name to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so we cast Satan out. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor.”

Images of The Bible’s Satan and Obama side by side caused a social media storm after going viral in the wake of the 10-hour mini-series’ debut screening in March last year. The film’s producers subsequently issued a statement praising the US president and hitting out at those who had made the “false connection”.

The Bible, which screened on the History Channel in the US, has been viewed more than 100m times. The film version, which has been cut to two hours, is due to debut in the US next weekend. It is set to debut in the UK on 5 March.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014

 
 
 
 
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