Last year the History Channel's TV miniseries aired and quickly became a hit with millions, but it wasn't without its controversy. In the episode depicting Satan tempting Jesus in the Wilderness, social media lit up with claims that the actor playing Satan, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, looked like President Obama. Now, according to the February 18 edition of E! Online, the producers of the show, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, have said they cut the character out of their film titled "Son of God" to avoid rehashing the controversy when the film opens on February 28.
The Son of God film
The 20th Century Fox film Son of God is a repackaged version of The Bible miniseries, and needed to be trimmed from 10 hours to two hours.
"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." Roma Downey via The Hollywood Reporter
The original controversy
The controversial episode of "The Bible" aired back in March 2013. Viewers noted the awkward resemblance and it became a hot topic that exploded across Twitter with viewers pointing out the striking similarities. The first to point it out was radio host Glenn Beck, tweeting "'Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?"
The controversy spread from the Internet to TV and radio and was the top story on many news outlets. The producers and the History Channel each issued statements supporting the president and made it clear they never intended to link President Obama and Satan in any way. At the time Roma Downey said, "The next day, when I was sure everyone would only be talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead."
Satan actor says similarities unintentional
At that time, the actor who played Satan spoke with the Washington Times and also said any similarities between his character and the president was unintentional. Without the make-up, he looks very little like the president. It took an hour and a half of makeup and a heavy hooded robe casting shadows across his face in the steamy Moroccan desert for him to become the Satan character tempting Jesus.
“For someone like me, a simple unknown actor, to find himself in a controversy like this – even though it’s nonsense – it makes me known around the world, so it’s something positive.” -- Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni via the Washington Times