Why Roma Downey cast Satan out of her Bible film, Son of God
It was a controversy that saw Roma Downey at the center of a battle between good and evil.
How the Londonderry actress has decided to ban Satan from her upcoming film after accusations the actor playing him in a previous production looked too much like Barack Obama.
Roma and her husband Mark Burnett are preparing for the release of the film Son Of God, which the LA power couple have both produced.
The film is based on their hit television series, The Bible, which drew millions of viewers across the world last year.
Despite their commercial success, the couple had to fend off criticism of why an actor who looked like the US president was cast in the evil role.
Controversy reigned because the Emmy-nominated History Channel miniseries starred Mohamen Mehdi Ouzanni, who looks like Obama.
So now they have decided to completely remove Satan from the movie version.
The Bible contained 10 hours of routine material which has now been condensed into two hours for Son of God – and the Devil was left on the editing room floor.
Regarding the decision to pull Satan out of production, which will be released later this month, American star Roma has said she wants the work to focus on Jesus, not Satan.
“Someone said that the actor playing the Devil looked vaguely like our president, and all of a sudden the media went crazy,” Roma said.
“The next day, when I was sure everyone was only talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead.”
Roma – who was born in the Bogside and became one of Northern Ireland’s richest people – plays the mother of Jesus in the film.
“For our movie Son of God, I wanted the whole focus to be on Jesus … so we cast Satan out,” said the former Thornhill College student.
“It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the Devil is on the cutting room floor.”
In a December interview with the Belfast Telegraph from her Malibu mansion, the 53-year-old Touched By An Angel star said she would never forget her Derry roots.
And about the possibility of making a movie at her house, she added: “I would never say that ever. I care about Ireland very much.
“As they say, you can take the girl out of Ireland, but never the other way around.”